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Burial Flags

Benefit Category: Federal

Why Does VA Provide a Burial Flag?

A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the U. S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran’s military service to his or her country. VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for each other than dishonorable discharged.

  • veteran who served during wartime
  • veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
  • veteran who served after January 31, 1955
  • peacetime veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
  • certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S. Armed Forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
  • certain former members of the National Guard and Selected Reserves
    • Served under USA title 10 or...
    • Completed initial obligation (one enlistment contract) or...
    • Were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty or...
    • Died while a member of the Selected Reserve or National Guard or...
    • At the time of death would have been eligible for retirement at age 60

Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?

Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, families of veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays.

How Can You Apply?

You may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 21-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. (pdf)

U.S. Post Offices are the primary issuing point for burial flags. Generally, the funeral director can help you obtain a flag. Call and confirm with the post office in advance. Not all local post offices have burial flags on hand but they should be able to direct you to the closest issuing post office. Regional VA Offices can also help identify local issuing points.

Additional flags?

Every eligible veteran is entitled to just one free burial flag. If family members or friends want a burial flag they will have to purchase or find other resources. Options to purchase flags: CVS Flag Store or the VFW Store.

Post offices or funeral directors that need additional flags to have on hand can contact the local regional office. In North Dakota contact the VA HCS' Inventory Management Supervisor 701-239-3700 ext. 9-3333.

Donating Burial Flags in National Cemeteries

Most of the Department of Veterans Affairs national cemeteries display an Avenue of Flags on patriotic holidays and during special events. The Avenues consist of burial flags donated by the families of deceased Veterans and provide a unique visible tribute to all of our Nation's Veterans.

A Certificate of Appreciation is presented to the donor for providing their loved ones' burial flag to a national cemetery.

Please contact the cemetery of your choice for information on how to donate a Veteran's burial flag.

 

Discharge Requests

Most Veteran’s benefits require that applicants provide a copy of their Form DD 214 or discharge record, which is evidence of their veteran status. This is an important document and must be safeguarded. In the State of North Dakota separation documents are considered confidential and privileged NDCC 37-18-11 (13). National Guard members may receive a NGB22 and /or NGB23 upon obtaining 20 years of satisfactory service (20 year letter).