Air Force Funeral Services: Military Funeral Honors Columbarium Inurnments

General Information:

Arlington National Cemetery can provide military funeral honors to authorized service members. These honors may include:

  • A casket team (body bearers / pallbearers)
  • A firing party
  • A bugler
  • Folding of and Presentation of our National Colors

Specific Information:

Plan to arrive at the Administration Building at least 30 minutes before the service, which gives you time to meet with the chaplain, the family and with the cemetery representative. The cemetery representative can give you specific information upon arrival.

At the Columbarium

  • The chaplain will act as your escort. The cemetery representative can also help you regarding protocol. Salute (Civilian dress: hand over heart) when the chaplain does, and drop your salute when the chaplain does. At the Columbarium, stand by the chaplain at the curb. See diagram and the symbol chart for more information.
  • The casket team will remove the urn from the car and prepare to march to the courtyard, where military honors will be rendered. The chaplain or cemetery representative can tell you the route that the casket team will use to carry the urn to the courtyard (covered shelter).
  • Walk with the chaplain to the courtyard, saluting after you stop and face the remains, (Civilians dress: hand over heart). Turn to continue facing the remains if appropriate to do so. Drop the salute (Civilian dress: hand over heart) along with the chaplain.

At the Columbarium: The Courtyard

  • Stand by the Chaplain, allowing enough room for the casket team to move past.
  • The casket team will position the remains on the stand and unfold the flag, holding it taut over the remains.
  • The chaplain will present arms which will initiate the beginning of honors.
  • Military honors will consist of three rifle volleys by seven riflemen, 'Taps' by a military bugler, and the formal folding of the flag.
  • The chaplain will receive the folded flag from a casket team, and will then present it to the next of kin, (unless other arrangements are made).The chaplain will render a final salute to the flag.
  • The Arlington Lady will offer condolences. You are welcome to do the same after she concludes them. This concludes the military honors.

At the Columbarium: The Niche

  • The cemetery representative will invite the family to follow you to the niche for inurnment. The cemetery representative will show you where the niche is as you walk.
  • When all have arrived at the niche, the cemetery representative will invite a family member to place the remains in the niche.
  • At this point, the chaplain will cue to you to begin the committal service or its equivalent. Please do this short service according to the needs of the family and in keeping with your faith tradition, the service should last no longer than 10 minutes. At the end of this service, you are welcome to offer condolences to the family.
  • The cemetery representative will announce that services have ended, and invite people to return to their cars.