When planning a funeral for a loved one who once served in Australia’s military forces, you’ll want to give them a send-off that reflects the special role they dedicated their life to.
Thankfully, you can easily ensure your friend or family member’s funeral ceremony embodies all the prestige and reverence of their service.
Here are three of our best suggestions that will help you put together a funeral where you can honour the life of your beloved veteran in a meaningful and comforting way.
Apply for Veteran Funeral Benefits
When planning a funeral for a dearly departed veteran, the first thing families should do is find out if they’re eligible for funeral assistance. In many cases, one-off payments of up to $2,000 are available to help you cover the cost of a veteran’s funeral.
The requirements for funeral benefit eligibility vary depending on which act your loved one’s service was covered by: the Veterans’ Entitlements Act (VEA), the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MCRA).
Veterans who may be eligible include those receiving a pension, former prisoners of war, those who died from a disability or illness acquired during their service, and those who are members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) among others.
You can check whether your loved one is eligible for a funeral benefit on the DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs) website. There, you’ll also be able to obtain a claim form that you can fill in if they are eligible.
Applying for funeral assistance is one of the best ways to help make a veteran’s funeral special. If you’re eligible, the funeral benefit will ease your money worries during the planning process, which will give you the freedom to create the perfect send-off without financial constraints.
Request a Grave Memorial
Alongside a funeral assistance payment, many veterans are entitled to an official war grave memorial when they pass away. Run by the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG), this program provides eligible veterans with an inscribed plaque to commemorate their life.
Each plaque is cast in bronze and inscribed with your loved one’s initials and surname, their service number, their rank and unit, their age and date of passing, and their service badge.
There are multiple types of memorial plaques available to suit a variety of final resting places. If you intend to keep your loved one’s ashes in a crematorium wall niche, the OAWG will arrange for the placement of these ashes and the setting of the plaque.
Alternatively, if you will scatter the ashes or keep them at home, the OAWG will place your commemorative place in the Garden of Remembrance at your nearest capital city.
Personalise With Military Details
When it comes to the finer details of your love one’s funeral, you have many options to personalise the ceremony in honour of their military service.
One example is to incorporate the Australian flag into the ceremony by laying it over the casket. You could also take inspiration from American tradition by asking a local military guard to fold and present the flag to your loved one’s next of kin at the end of the ceremony.
You may also want to play martial or patriotic songs at the funeral service rather than traditional funeral songs. If you’re in touch with any other service people or veterans in the area who knew your departed loved one, ask if they’d like to serve as pallbearers.
Exactly how you personalise your ceremony will depend on the specific life you’re celebrating, but any military details will make a veteran’s funeral special and memorable.
If you’d like to personalise your loved one’s funeral with music, decorations, and other details that celebrate their veteran status, consider opting for a funeral package. Funeral service packages include the foundational elements of a ceremony and cremation (such as the casket, celebrant, and urn), giving you time to focus on adding the special military touches.
At Cremations Only, we provide a range of full-service packages to choose from that will take care of all the essentials for you. For a free, no-obligations quote, contact Cremations Only.