When a funeral service to honor the life of a deceased veteran takes place, there's a chance that the casket might be open. In such a scenario, the veteran may be buried in his or her uniform, which creates a visually stirring sight to those who attend the service. However, if you've decided that you want the casket to be closed — which may be the case in the event of your loved one being killed in action — you'll want to have plans for displaying a number of important items. Here are some items that you'll want to have on display around the closed casket, and some tips for displaying them.
The Veteran's Uniform
Few things are as important in the life of a veteran as his or her uniform, so you'll definitely want to have this on display next to the closed casket. An appropriate way to display it is on a mannequin; in many cases, the funeral home can provide a mannequin that you can use for the uniform. This is especially true if the funeral home you're using serves a lot of veterans' families. Do your best to ensure that the uniform looks its best. This may include pressing it to appear crisp, while perhaps consulting another military member to ensure that each medal and badge is placed in the appropriate location.
The Veteran's Boots
In some cases, you may want to put the veteran's boots on display. This, too, can evoke a lot of emotional reactions to those in attendance, as it's a powerful sight. You have a few options for this idea. If you're displaying black jump boots, you want to ensure that they're highly polished. If you're displaying tactical boots that don't require polishing, you'll likely want to remove the mud from them. A good way to display boots of any type of is on a small, circular table with the boots placed together as though the veteran were standing at attention.
The Veteran's Official Portrait
There are many ways to go about sharing photos of the veteran during the funeral service, but you'll definitely want his or her official armed forces portrait on display in an appropriate frame. If the veteran was old when he or she passed, a photo of him or her in uniform perhaps several decades ago, contrasted with another photo of the veteran in uniform more recently — perhaps at a Veterans Day ceremony — can have a big impact for those in attendance.
Talk to a funeral home about a veteran funeral package.