Military Coffins

Burial rites for those who have served their country always have added elements that you would not normally find in other burials. There might be slight differences depending on what country the person being buried in had lived or served. There has also been some controversy regarding the distribution of images of military coffins in the media, which will be discussed in the latter part of this article.

Are Military Coffins Different from the Regular Ones?

There are no distinct specifications that have to be followed when it comes to military coffins. Caskets that are used for burying servicemen are the same types that can be used for non-military burials. If you would observe, the same rectangular shape is used and there are the usual choices between wood and metal for the material used in making these military coffins. The one thing that physically sets regular coffins apart from the military coffins would be the flags that are carefully draped on those that contain dead servicemen. This is a token of appreciation from the nation for the service that was rendered by the deceased to their country.

Military Burials

The burial of servicemen is steeped in a lot of tradition in the United States. It is the government’s way of paying their last respects to a citizen who has given his or her life in protecting and serving the country. Military funeral services are not only given to those who have died in combat; war veterans who have passed on are also eligible for this honor. There are three types of military burials that are being practiced in the country, they are as follows: Standard Honor, Full Honor, and the one performed by the Armed Forces. Among the three, the one performed by the Armed Forces is the most elaborate and is reserved only for the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense, as well as officers that were granted multiple-service command. The flag folding which takes place right before the military coffins are to be lowered into the ground is also a treasured ritual that has a meaning for each fold (a total of thirteen folds).

Why is There a Ban on Images with Military Coffins?

As early as 1991, the Pentagon started to regulate the amount of coverage that is given to images of dead servicemen who fought in battle for the sake of their country. Flag-draped military coffins awaiting transport back to the country are especially restricted. According to the Pentagon, this is a policy that has long been in place though was not really enforced before, but they are taking measures to clamp down on it. Some feel that it is a political ploy to undermine the human aspect of the wars and show that these deaths are not just statistics or numbers but also a representation of the actual lives that were lost. Others maintain that showing these images encourage the enemy to drag out even longer and be the cause of even more deaths.