Top 3 Military Funeral Etiquette Questions Answered

By: Anderson Funeral Home
Saturday, September 24, 2016

Top 3 Military Funeral Etiquette Questions Answered

Funerals are usually a somber occasion. There is often a sense of formality and structure to the event. However, military funerals are always formal occasions. There are rules to follow and a sense of decorum is required. Because military funerals are more formal, many people have questions about what’s expected. Let’s take a look at the top military funeral etiquette questions and answers.

Should I Salute and if So, When Do I Salute?

If you’re not in the military and are not a veteran of the military, there is no rule that you should salute during a military funeral. Instead of saluting, it’s common to place your hat or your hand over your heart during times when a salute is appropriate.

However, if you do wish to salute, follow the others attending the funeral who are in civilian clothing. As a citizen, if you salute during the wrong time, it’s considered a breach of etiquette. Either don’t salute or follow the guide of other civilians.

If you’re in the military then you’ll salute during the following occasions:

  • When the hearse passes in front of you
  • At any time while the casket is being moved including when it is being lowered into the ground
  • During the gun salute
  • While Taps is being played

What Should I Wear to a Military Funeral?

If you’re in the military then you wear your dress uniform. If you’re not in the military then generally speaking you’ll wear formal clothes that you would wear to church. For men this might be a suit and a tie, and for women a dress or a skirt or pants and a blouse.

What Should I Expect from a Military Funeral?

Military funerals are much like other funerals. However, you won’t usually see children at a military funeral. Like most funerals the immediate family sits up front. Electronic devices should be turned off and everyone should be respectful of attendees, the deceased, and the deceased’s family.

Military funerals are like most funerals. They’re quiet and contemplative occasions to say good bye to a loved one. The biggest difference is that military funeral etiquette includes saluting, or not saluting, and wearing a military uniform if you’re in the service.

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