Attending a Funeral

Arlington National Cemetery is the most hallowed burial ground of our nation's fallen. A fully operational national cemetery since May 1864, Arlington conducts an average of 27 funerals each workday--final farewells to fallen heroes from the fronts of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to veterans of World War II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam and the Cold War and their family members. Arlington is unique in that it is one of the few cemeteries that perform graveside burials with full military honors. For families, it is the time that the United States military bestows the honors befitting the service and sacrifice of their loved one. We consider it part of our sacred trust to ensure that each funeral is executed with the utmost dignity and respect.

Sequence of Events for Military Funeral Honors

    Burial at Arlington National Cemetery
    • The caisson or hearse arrives at gravesite, everyone presents arms (renders a salute).
    • Casket team secures the casket, non-commissioned officer-in-charge (NCOIC), officer-in-charge (OIC), and chaplain salute.
    • Chaplain leads the way to gravesite, followed by casket team.
    • Casket team sets down the casket and secures the flag.
    • The NCOIC ensures the flag is stretched out and level, and centered over the casket.
    • The family will be seated.
    • NCOIC backs away and the chaplain, military or civilian, will perform the service.
    • At conclusion of interment service and before benediction, a gun salute is fired for those eligible (i.e., general officers).
    • Chaplain concludes his service and backs away, NCOIC steps up to the casket.
    • The cemetery representative will ask all family members to rise for honors.
    • The NCOIC presents arms to initiate the rifle volley.
    • Rifle volley complete, bugler plays "Taps."
    • Family will be asked to be seated.
    • Casket-team leader starts to fold the flag.
    • Flag fold complete, and the flag is passed to the NCOIC, OIC.
    • Casket team leaves gravesite.
    • NCOIC, OIC either presents the flag to the next-of-kin, or if there is a military chaplain on site he will present the flag to the chaplain, and then the chaplain will present to the next-of-kin.
    • For veterans of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, an Arlington Lady presents a card of condolences to the next-of-kin on behalf of their service chief.
    • Chaplain/family clergy will extend condolences.
    • Cemetery representative announces that the service is concluded.