National Guard Funeral Honors

The Army National Guard (ARNG) Military Funeral Honors (MFH) program renders professional military funeral honors, in accordance with service tradition, to all eligible veterans when requested by an authorized family member.  Currently, the ARNG conducts 75% of all MFHs for the Army and approximately 47% of all MFHs for DOD.

The MFH program has developed a comprehensive network within communities which allows for an expedient response to the needs of deceased Veteran’s families.  Military Funeral Honors have always been provided whenever possible.

***** This video provides an example of what the Military Funeral Honors looks like. It is from a real funeral in Arlington National Cemetery, done by the Old Guard.

Currently, law mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible Veteran if requested by the family. By law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible Veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased Veteran.

The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a professional ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps. Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by electronic recording.  Although most military funeral honors are simple, they are extremely well done and very professional.  The rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the nation’s deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful nation can provide to the Veteran’s family.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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13 thoughts on “National Guard Funeral Honors”

  1. I watched this entire video and was impressed by it. Being prior service I have nothing but respect for anybody who gave their life for their country.

    It makes no sense at all to protest a funeral of a service member being buried, who gave their life in service to their country.

    I will never understand that lack of respect and appreciation.

  2. Faith A. Coleman

    It is a privilege to attend a military funeral. These last few years there have been too many. It always touches my heart how many people will attend, hundreds and hundreds, who didn’t know the soldier or family but still felt compelled to pay respect to the selfless act. It’s so important to the family. My mother received a flag for my father who had not been in combat, but never the less, his service was valued. It was quite moving.

    1. The funerals are always very professional. I’ve participated in many myself and even though they are sad, it always made me feel proud to pay my respects and give them a nice funeral.

  3. Candace Ginestar

    Chuck, what did you do in the Old Guard?

    My husband started the honor guard down in our town and sustained it for awhile, before a neighboring town basically disbanded them. He still volunteers his time with the VFW and will be the ‘active’ servicemember that participates in their honors. I think it’s a great thing to do and I am going to volunteer to do the honor guard with the VFW and wear their uniform.

    1. I worked in the S3 Office as a clerk and was assigned to HHC.

      Soldiers in the HHC served in many ceremonies, mostly with the state and territorial flags, ushers, etc.

      I got to serve in the 1997 Inauguration, part of the Presidential Cordon.

      I participated in about 60 high level ceremonies over a 26 month period. It was a great experience as a young enlisted Soldier.

      Thanks for the comment.


  4. Something I thought of when reading your comments is the memory of certain interest groups that stage protests during a military funeral. It just made me a bit angry now, thinking about how beautiful, honorable and profound the ceremony is, that people would ever disrespect that….despite their political/religious beliefs. I know that some Veteran groups actually will gather on motorcycle and form a blockade to keep these people out, and for that, I am glad. Thanks for the comments!

    1. I’m not sure how anyone could protest a military funeral. I’m cool with people not liking the military and not wanting war. But don’t disrespect someone who has given their life to defend your freedom. Find another way to express your opinion and let the family get some closure.

      1. Amy Skalicky

        I wholeheartedly agree! I respect our freedom to disagree in this country–it’s one of the awesome things about us– but it should be done intelligently and respectfully. A family who is grieving over losing a loved one should not have to be confronted with a political protest as well. Respect their privacy and have the protest somewhere else.

    2. The Westboro Baptist church is who you are speaking about Justin. They are a sick, vile group, but we must always remember that what you all are fighting for is freedom. They use that freedom for a sick cause, but it is freedom. I thank God for the Patriot Guard who shows up at the funerals to block them.

      We had this group threaten to show up to a funeral of a boy when I lived in Lebanon, Mo. A certain person contacted me that knew they were showing (the group by law has to contact the courthouse to say they will be picketing). When told the location, I fired my F-150 up and loaded up my now deceased Pit Bull (Coco). With her by my side, and an American flag in my hand, we stood at the location this group said they were coming to. When the first van full of them pulled up, I told the first person getting out that Coco tends to bite people that hold up signs and yells disgusting words. “Just a warning, I stated.” They left immediately and filed a lawsuit against both myself and the county. It was dismissed.

      There are ways to handle groups such as the Westboro Church of Hate!

  5. A military funeral is a memorable event unrivaled by any other. I have had occasion to attend several, my late father's being the most recent, and I am left breathless each time. What a beautiful way to honor a service member's distinguished career, and to express gratitude one last time for devoted service to our country. The familiar sound of a lone bugle or bagpipe playing Taps never fails to bring tears to my eyes–a familiar and mournful, yet somehow comforting, melody. Professionally executed with grace and dignity, even the simplest service is moving and different from anything you will ever experience. An unequivocally fitting good-bye, a military service is the most dignified way to commemorate a soldier and bid him (or her) a fond farewell as he makes his way to the "great command post in the sky".

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