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When a Veteran Dies, Who Gets the Flag?

Published on
November 30, 2021 3:13:45 PM PST November 30, 2021 3:13:45 PM PSTth, November 30, 2021 3:13:45 PM PST

A veteran, a person who was ready to give their life for the country, is someone who deserves all the respect from the nation. The last honorable tribute is paid at the funeral. During the grim ceremony, the national flag is displayed on the casket or the urn, and finally given away to one person only. When a veteran dies, who gets the flag when there are a lot of good candidates for receiving the last gift from the country the soldier had sacrificed for? Can more than one burial flag be given?


We shall provide the answers to these and much more.


Who Gets the Burial Flag After a Veteran’s Death?


By law, the burial flag is to be given to the next-of-kin once the funeral ceremony is finished. To obtain it, it is necessary to fill out a certain form. There is no time limit for requesting the flag.


Who’s the Next-of-Kin?


The next-of-kin is the person that is most closely related to the deceased veteran. Normally there is no question about who is going to be presented the burial flag since active duty members name their next-of-kin before finishing their service. They fill out the VA Form 27-2008 and only one person can be listed in it. Therefore, there is usually no argument about who exactly is entitled to receive the flag.


In rare cases when the appointed person dies before the service, their next-of-kin is given the flag.


What If There Is No Next-of-Kin?


In cases when the next-of-kin was not officially named before the veteran’s death, there is a clear hierarchy about who has the right to receive the flag. The order goes like this:


●      the spouse

●      children (the oldest child if more than one)

●      the eldest parent or guardian

●      the adopted relative (that is granted legal custody)

●      the eldest grandparent


Once again, if the situation occurs when none of these is able to receive the burial flag, then any other relative or even a close friend can be given the flag. If it is in accordance with the late veteran’s domicile certificate.


What Happens with the Flag Afterwards?


There are several options regarding what can be done with burial flags. Most commonly, the family of the deceased veteran opts for an indoor display of the flag to commemorate their beloved family member.


Also, if a veteran was buried in one of the national veteran cemeteries that have an Avenue of Flags, it is possible to donate the burial flag so that it can be flown on patriotic holidays.


However, once the next-of-kin is given the flag, it is in their possession and they can basically do as they please with it. The above are just two most common ways of dealing with it. Yet, the person who gets the flag can even give it away or leave it to someone in their will. There are no special rules, laws, or regulations about what the next-of-kin is to do with the flag during their life or who gets it after they pass away.


Sources:

https://www.va.gov/opal/nac/sdc/faqBurialFlags.asp#q006

https://beyondthedash.com/blog/etiquette-and-advice/who-gets-the-flag-at-a-military-funeral/5501