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Acquiring A Flag

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  1. No flag may be issued unless a completed application form has been received (38 U.S.C. 901). The person filling out he application bust state under Item 7, “Relationship to Deceased” whether he/she is: (a) A relative, and degree of relationship (e.g., “Brother”); (b) the funeral director: (c) a representative of a veterans’ or other funeral director; (c) a representative of a veterans’ or other organization having charge of the burial (e.g., “ the American Legion”; (d other person having knowledge of the facts, and acting in the interest of the of the deceased or his/her family (e.g., “Friend”; “Det. Clerk”)
  2. One of the lettered conditions listed in Item 4, “Condition Under Which Veteran Was Released From Service” must be evidenced, normally by a document such as a discharge paper (Form DD 214), before a flag may be issued.
  3. (a) The phrase “veteran of a war” in Item 4A requires showing that the deceased was in service in the United State armed forces during a war period. The phrase “Mexican border service” means active service during the period beginning on January 1, 1911, and ending on April 5, 1918, in Mexico, on the borders thereof, or in the waters adjacent thereto. The phrase “service after January 31, 1955” relates to veterans with active military naval, or air service after the date.

    (b) The phrase “under conditions other than dishonorable” in Items 4A, 4B, and 4D requires a showing of discharge or release from active duty under honorable conditions. These must be (“Honorable” or “General”) from the indicated period of service in the United States armed forces, In the absence of such discharge or release from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable, there must be a determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs that discharge or release from active duty was “under conditions other than dishonorable.”

    (c) The phrase in Item 4B “at least one enlistment” is construed to include service of a commissioned officer whose service, computed from date of entrance into commissioned status to date of separation relates to peacetime service before June 27, 1950.

    (d) In Item 4B when the deceased was honorably discharged for disability, it may be assumed that the disability was “incurred in the life of duty.”

    (e) Issue of a flag in in-service cases Item 4C Is required only when deceased was interred outside the United States, or remains no recovered, or where service department cannot supply flag in time for burial. Explanation should be included under “Remarks.”

  4. When the applicant is unable to furnish documentary proof, such as a discharge under honorable conditions (“Honorable” or “ General”), an application may be accepted and a flag issued when statement is made by a person of establish character and reputation that he/she personally knows the deceased to have been a veteran of a war, the Mexican border service, or of service after January 31, 1955, discharged or released from active duty, under honorable conditions or to have been a person discharged from, or released from active duty in the Untied States Army, Navy, Air Force , Marine Corps, or Coast Guard under honorable conditions after serving at least one complete peacetime enlistment, before June 27, 1950 or for disability incurred in the life of duty; or that he deceased was in active service at the time of death and a flag was not obtainable from a military or naval establishment in time for burial.
  5. The following classes of persons are ineligible for issue of a burial flag:
  6. (a) A discharge or rejected draftee, or a member of the National Guard, who reported to camp in answer to the President’s call for World War I service but who, when medically examined, was not finally accepted for military service.

    (b) A person who was discharged from World War I service prior to November 12, 1918, on his/her own application or solicitation, by reason of being an alien, or any person discharged for alienage during a period of hostilities.

    (c) A person who served with any of the forces allied with the United States in any war, even though a United States citizen, if he/she did not serve with the United Stares armed forces.

    (d) A person inducted for training and service who, before entering upon such training and service, was transferred to the Enlisted Reserve Corps and given a furlough.

    (e) A former temporary member of the United States Coast Guard Reserve.

    (f) A reservist who served only on active duty for training unless he/she was disabled or died from a disease injury incurred or aggravated in life of duty.

  7. Flags will not be issued subsequent to burial, except where circumstances render it impossible to obtain a flag in time to drape the casket of a deceased veteran prior to final interment. The applicant mush personally sign the application and include (under “Remarks”) a statement explaining the circumstances preventing the requesting of a burial flag prior to final interment.
  8. The flag will be disposed if as follows:
  9. (a) When actually used to drape the casket of the deceased, it must be delivered to the next of kin ( or to a close friend or associate when no claim is made by next of kin) following interment or inurnment. If there is no living relative, or one cannot be located, and no friend or associate requests the flag, it must be returned to the nearest Department of Veterans Affairs.

    (b) The phrase “next of kin,” for the purpose of disposing of the flag, is defined as follows with preference to entitlement in the order listed below:

    (1) Widow or widower

    (2) Children, according to age (minor child may be issued a flag on application signed by guardian).

    (3) Parents, including adoptive, stepparents, and foster parents

    (4) Brothers or sisters, including brothers or sisters of the halfblood

    (5) Uncles or aunts

    (6) Nephews or nieces

    (7) Others – cousins, grandparents, etc.

    (c) The phrase “close friend or associate” means any person who establishes by evidence that he/she was a close friend or and associate of the deceased.

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