Tag Archives: state flag on coffin

All about the Flag on the Casket


Casket: a rectangular-shaped box in which the dead are buried.

air-force-casket-full Vet caskets dot comImage courtesy of www.veterancaskets.com

Coffin: a six-sided box for the same purpose. The ends taper inward toward the head and feet. Not widely used in America, used extensively in Europe.

basic-coffin murrayfuneralservicesdotCOdotUKImage courtesy of www.murrayfuneralservice.co.uk

Interment: the burial of a corpse in a grave or tomb, typically with funeral rites.

Internment: the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial.

What is an Interment Flag?

This is what the American flag is called that is draped over a casket. It is a cotton flag that is 5 feet by 9 1/2 feet with embroidered stars. There are certain companies that make these flags and each company has slight variations to their flags. If you speak with someone who has been a pall bearer fora while he/she just might be able to tell you about these slight variations and where the first fold into the canton lands, etc. Click here for great info on specifications.

Can a flag be used for a first responder/military member who has committed suicide?

Yes, of course. Nothing prevents this at all.

Is a flag authorized for first responder/military retirees or veterans?

Absolutely! Retirees/veterans obtain their flags from the VA and first responders flags are provided through their department.

Is a flag be authorized for deceased canines?

Yes. Canine’s serve their country in law enforcement and other capacities and are considered a member of the military or law enforcement agency.

Are two or more flags authorized to be folded and presented to the next of kin?

Yes. While one flag is provided by the military service/public service agency others can be purchased for the family by the family, department, etc. It is standard that the flag that is draped over the casket is folded and presented and that all other flags are pre-folded and presented after the first flag.

Can an interment flag be flown?

Yes, of course. There is nothing wrong with that.

What is a casket band?

A large elastic band that goes around the casket to hold the flag in place during transport on a caisson it is not needed at any other time. Click here for a very good product. Picture courtesy theragblog.blogspot.com (this flag is not dressed- properly folded at the ends- and the band is too high; it should be centered vertically.

How is the flag displayed on a fully open casket?

The properly folded flag is placed in the casket at the deceased’s left shoulder.

What about displaying the flag on a half-open casket?

The upper half of the flag (the
half with the canton) is arranged in three layers of even folds and the bottom half of the flag covers the closed half of the casket. Align the three folds with the edge of the closed half of the casket with the blue field as the top layers. Fold the header (white band) under the flag to display only the blue field and stripes.Open Casket Flag It is best to set up the casket with the flag in this manner before the ceremony. During the ceremony the casket can be closed and two pall bearers can then arrange the flag so that it then covers the whole casket. The picture of the open casket (top) shows the flag incorrectly displayed (the white band is showing).

How is the flag displayed with cremated remains in an urn?

A properly folded flag is displayed and carried on the right of the urn.

Can state flags be used to cover a casket?

Yes. Some first responders who serve their state desire to have their state’s flag, which is just fine. The flag should be displayed so that it faces the same direction as if it were the American flag.

How is a casket transported through narrow areas like a chapel aisle?

By two pall bearers: one at the foot of the casket, which actually leads when transported, and one at the head of the casket (where the canton is- the head of the deceased). Both pallbearers keep their hands on the casket the whole time. Picture courtesy monstersandcritics.com

How does the casket travel?

Feet-first at all times except in two instances:

  1. When the deceased is a chaplain and he is going in/out of the chapel
  2. When there is an impediment in the way of the casket traveling to the graveside all the way feet-first

Some Resources

International Association of Fire Fighters Funeral Protocol for Line-of-Duty Deaths.

National Volunteer Fire Council Funeral Procedures for Firefighters: A Resource Manual.