When the American flag is taken from the casket or urn at a military funeral and has been carefully and symbolically folded into the familiar blue triangle with white stars blazing on the top, there is usually no issue about who it will be presented to. Tradition as well as military regulations say that the flag is to be presented to the next of kin. All active duty soldiers designate a next of kin for many reasons – insurance, pay, benefits, and other important matters. But it is also their next of kin who will receive the flag that covers them whether they die in the line of duty, or after a lifetime of service.
Depending upon the family’s wishes, the flag that drapes a Veteran’s casket might be ceremonially raised and lowered on a flagpole before it is draped over their casket or urn and then folded for a final presentation to next of kin. The official US flag is made from 100% American-grown cotton and is not meant to be permanently displayed outside. The ceremonial folding and presentation is intended to make the flag a permanent indoor memorial to the fallen Veteran.In the case of a veteran with no living family members, there will always be a military representative, either active duty, retired military or from the VA, who will accept the flag in memory of their service and sacrifice. With so many of America’s Veterans dying without family or home, it is becoming increasingly common for a homeless veteran’s funeral to be attended by hundreds of other veterans and even civilians, all strangers but all wanting to be there for their fallen comrade.