Funeral etiquette for flowers in a military grave

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Funeral etiquette for flowers in a military grave
Decorating the graves of fallen soldiers is a custom as old as war itself. (flags on a memorial image by Heather Kitchen Images from

During the Civil War, friends and family draped Union and Confederate graves alike with wildflowers. Poppies, signifying the blood of heroes, were used for World War I soldiers, and flowers bloom on carefully tended graves of veterans from the Second World War to Afghanistan

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Patriotic Colors

The main sprays, pillows, container arrangements and casket pieces at military funerals should feature patriotic colours. Red, white and blue are considered patriotic colours.

Military Symbols

Military symbols such as medals and emblems can be used with the funeral flower arrangements. A Grand Army of the Republic Civil War emblem is an example of a military marker.

Cedar Boughs

Cedar sprigs and boughs are generally featured in military floral arrangements because cedar trees represent eternal life.

Standing Sprays

When the flag is draped on the casket, only standing sprays of flowers are used.


According to Arlington National Cemetery, fresh cut flowers--not wreaths--are appropriate for Memorial Day decorations at Arlington. Each cemtery has its own rules and regulations about flowers, so it is good etiquette to check out the rules for individual cemeteries.

Tend Military Graves

If a soldier is buried in a private cemetery that doesn't have a staff to maintain graves, family members can tend them as a loving memorial. Volunteers in communities across America place flags and flowers on military graves on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, and they tend them all year around.

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