Department of Veterans Affairs officials have clarified its policy about recitations made while the U.S. flag is folded at the gravesite of a veteran. Traditional gravesite military funeral honors include the silent folding and presentation of an American flag, a 21-gun rifle salute, and the playing of “Taps.”

The clarification includes the following:

• Volunteer honor guards are authorized to read the so-called “13-fold” flag recitation or any comparable script;

• Survivors of the deceased need to provide material and request it be read by the volunteer honor guards; and

• Volunteer honor guards will accept requests for recitations that reflect any or no religious traditions, on an equal basis.

Veterans with a discharge other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a national cemetery. 

Other burial benefits available for all eligible veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker.