Thompson Funeral Home Veterans "Flag of Honor" Program
Our Veterans "Flag of Honor" Program was founded to honor the lives of every veteran we have the privilege of serving.
When transporting a known veteran from their place of death, the American Flag is draped over their body. During the time frame before their final disposition of either burial or cremation, the flag remains draped or with the veteran honoring their life and the sacrifice they made to serve their country. After final disposition, the flag is presented to the family, thus ending the journey of the flag, but providing recognition and honor for the veteran and their family.
The next honor involves flags being displayed on the front of the hearse, along with military emblems on each side of the hearse identifying the veterans branch of service.
The final honor takes place at the cemetery where flags form a walkway from the roadside to the gravesite for the pallbearers carrying the casket, or urn, to pass through. Honoring those who gave is our privilege.
Thompson Funeral Home proudly assists veterans and their families to determine any benefits a veteran or family member may be eligible for when pre-arranging a funeral, or when a death occurs. Death benefits and exceptions vary greatly for an armed forces member who dies while on active duty, or a Reserve who dies while in inactive duty training. Those benefits and exceptions are addressed at the time of death and are too numerous to list here.
We have listed some benefits and information we usually assist families with below. For further information on military benefits/death benefits, you can visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs web site at www.va.gov or call the local Lebanon Veteran Affairs Office at (717) 228-4422, or Indiantown Gap National Cemetery at (717) 865-5254.
Who is a "veteran?"
A U.S. Veteran means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
Certain reservists, National Guard Members, and other groups considered to have performed active military service may be eligible for benefits.
What are possible veterans benefits when a death occurs?
- If the death occurred at a VA Medical Facility or VA Contracted Nursing Home -or- if the deceased was eligible for VA compensation -or- if the deceased was eligible for VA pension -or- if the deceased was on service disability or retirement, the VA will pay up to $700 toward burial and funeral expenses.
- Some or all of transportation costs related to the funeral costs may be reimbursed
- If the burial is at a private cemetery (not a national or state cemetery), the VA will pay up to $700
- The Lebanon County VA Office may pay a $100 death and inscription benefit, if eligible (must be a resident of Lebanon County, PA)
- One Free Flag
- 10 Free death certificates, if a resident of PA (Note: Cannot get immediately. Takes 7-12 weeks to receive).
Note: Thompson Funeral Home will file all forms for the above items on your behalf.
Burial At A National Cemetery
- Free Cemetery Gravesite and Free Opening and Closing of the Grave. This includes gravesites for casket burials and cremation burials.
- Many National Cemeteries (includes Indiantown Gap National Cemetery) have scattering gardens to scatter cremated remains.
- Free Flat Granite Gravemarker or Upright Gravestones. At Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, only upright gravestones are now available for casket burials sections.
- Free Concrete Graveliner, only if buried in a National Cemetery.
- Burial at Arlington National Cemetery has limited eligibility requirements. You may call them at (703) 695-3250 with questions, or contact us to determine if you are eligible.
- If the next of kin chooses to purchase a sealed burial vault, eliminating the VA’s expense for a concrete graveliner, the VA will pay the next of kin the amount equal of the VA's cost of a graveliner, less administrative expenses.
Notes: Thompson Funeral Home arranges and/or files all forms for the above items on your behalf.
Gravesites in national cemeteries cannot be reserved. We apply for a gravesite at the time of death.
These National Cemetery burial benefits are extended to the veteran; his/her spouse; eligible dependent children - under 21 yrs. & living at home -or- 23 and attending school; mentally/physically declared dependent children whose condition was declared by a physician or court prior to 18th birthday.
Burial at Sea Program
Burial at sea is performed on U.S. Navy vessels, therefore family members are not allowed to be present. The Commanding Officer assigned to perform the ceremony will notify the family of the date, time, longitude and latitude once the committal service has been completed. Casket Burial at sea is more expensive because of the many U.S. Navy requirements our funeral home has to follow, including the of preparing the remains and the casket, as well as the additional transportation costs to get the casket to one of the Navy’s Ports of Embarkation on either the east or west coast. Cremated remains may also be buried at sea, whereas the cost would be much less since.