honor guard training: state flag on casket

Ask DrillMaster: State Flag on a Casket?

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Honor Guard Training, Instructional, Protocol and Flag 1 Comment

Question: I have been searching for an answer to a question and cannot find it. I hope you can help me. The question is what is the meaning of a state flag draped over a coffin?

Answer: Hello James, thank you very much for the question.I’ve answered it here to help inform others who may have the same question.

The answer is quite simple. You may have recently seen caskets from the unfortunate event that took place in West Texas with the firefighters who were killed in the line of duty by an explosion. Their caskets were draped with the American Flag and one was draped with the Texas flag, but why? Those in charge of the ceremony were concerned with doing the right thing and draped the casket of the volunteer fire chaplain with the Texas flag. The firefighters were full-time, but the chaplain was a volunteer and the committee did not want to make a faux pas. And yet, all of the caskets could have been covered with the state’s flag because the firefighters serve their community within their state. A state flag on a casket (a four-sided box) or coffin (a six-sided box) is perfectly acceptable. All Americans may have an American, tribal state, territory, county, or city flag on their casket.

Firefighters and law enforcement officers serve their communities/state just as those in the military serve their country. Firefighters and law enforcement officers receive the honor of having their city, town or state flag draped over their casket while the military receives the American flag. Can the firefighters and law enforcement officers have the American flag? Yes, of course. Whatever the deceased or family wants. Because when it comes down to the bottom line, everyone serves their city, state and nation in some way, big or small.

Again, thanks for the question!

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