While every Funeral Home Director has their own personal approach to assisting families of Veterans with all of the paperwork and details that go into a military funeral, there are some areas where every family needs the Director’s voice of experience at their side. One of the most important things that Directors do is to ensure that the family has the Veteran’s DD-214 form. If they don’t or, as often happens, it is impossible to locate, experienced Directors have a special "Military Honors Coordinator” number to call where military personnel will coordinate with the Director to expedite everything. Since the Veteran’s DD-214 is the basis of all the benefits of service, it is the starting point for every military funeral arrangement.
Another important role of the Director is coordinating access to the full range of military honors for the family, everything from obtaining the flag to arranging for a bugler, and from accommodating honorary escort groups like the PRG to obtaining permits for a parade. Experienced Funeral Directors know who to call and what to ask about sometimes obscure benefits to ensure that families don’t have to figure out how to deal with a bureaucracy during their time of grief and sadness.
A very important part of the Funeral Director’s role in a military funeral is to stay in the background and assist those who have an official or military role in the ceremonies to do their job. Unlike a civilian funeral, there are usually multiple groups of people besides the family who are involved, such as the Honor Guard and perhaps a military chaplin, and those needs have to be accommodated. Even more than usual, the Director’s job at a military funeral is to see that everything is coordinated and runs smoothly out of the special respect that we all feel for those who have given their lives serving our country.