What to Expect at a Memorial Service
We carry out memorial services at national cemeteries with dignity and respect. Find out what happens at a memorial service.
What happens during the ceremony?
The ceremony, including any readings or military honors, takes place at a special area called a committal shelter (not at the gravesite). The family chooses someone to perform this short ceremony. A cemetery official is there to show guests and family members where they should go.
The family may choose to have military funeral honors. This may include the playing of “Taps,” a rifle detail, a color guard, or uniformed Servicemembers who present the burial flag.
People attending the ceremony may:
- Bring flowers, which may go with the casket or urn when it’s taken from the committal shelter to the gravesite, and
- Visit the gravesite at the end of the workday, but not immediately following the ceremony
Funerals at Arlington National Cemetery are different. Learn about Arlington National Cemetery funerals.
Note: If you requested a headstone, marker, or medallion, we’ll arrange for it to be delivered within 60 days. Learn about headstones, markers, and medallions.