Who gets flag-draped caskets?

Assorted-product displays on white shelf.jpg

Flag-draped coffins are permitted for active-duty military service members, veterans, and some civilians, including the president and some members of Congress.

1 Veterans

All veterans who were discharged other than "dishonorably" are allowed military funeral honors, including a flag draped over their coffin. The funeral director may request form DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) from the Defense Department for verification.

2 Active Duty and Selective Reserve

Men and women on active duty or in the Selective Reserve may also be buried with military honors, including a flag-draped coffin.

3 State Officials

The president of the United States, as commander in chief, is permitted a military burial with a flag-draped coffin.

4 Lying in Honor and Lying in State

Select members of Congress who are given the privilege of lying in state are honored with a flag draped over their coffins. Other civilians can be given the privileged of lying in honor, which also allows for a flag-draped coffin. These privileged viewings are not given automatically, for example to all members of Congress, and they may be denied if the family prefers a quieter, private burial.

5 After the Funeral

The flag is never buried with the coffin. Instead, the flag is folded 13 times in a triangle and presented to the deceased's next of kin.

Janine Wonnacott has an MA in psychology from Catholic U. She earned a BA in psychology and a minor in economics from Georgetown U. She has published in Military History, Games, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington Families. She lives in Virginia.