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GUIDELINES FOR CHAPTERS UPON THE DEATH OF A VVA MEMBER


VVA chapter participation in services held at the death of a Vietnam Veteran is intended to honor the deceased Veteran and to provide support to the bereaved family. Everything done by VVA members should respect first the wishes of the family, and secondly the direction of the family's clergy.

The VVA Chapter President or his/her designee will confer with the family, clergy and funeral director to ascertain the time and place of the viewing and services. The Chapter President or designee will notify the Chapter's Chaplain, Honor Guard, and other affected members.

There are four major ways that VVA can offer ceremonial support to the family and friends of a deceased member:

1 Escort at the Funeral Home
2 A Special Memorial Service either at the funeral home prior to the funeral, or at another time and place when the casket is not present.
3 Ceremonial participation in the funeral itself by arrangement with clergy and family.
4 Ceremonial participation in the graveside service by arrangement with clergy and family.

1. Escort at the Funeral Home

The following apply when an escort is requested at the funeral home:

1. The Chapter President or designee will designate the Uniform of the Day to the Head of the Honor Guard/Color Guard.

2. The Head of the Honor Guard will contact members of the Honor Guard/Color Guard to arrange for a roster of Chapter members will provide escort service at the funeral home during the times of viewing.

3. Designated escorts will stand in a respectful fashion at the head and foot of the casket for the designated shift.

2. Special Memorial Service.

1. The VVA Chapter may conduct the following special service at the funeral home or other location where the casket is present, for the purpose of honoring the deceased veteran's military service, if asked to do so by the family. The service should take place at a time other than the funeral. Arrangements should be made beforehand with the funeral director.

2. Alternatively, the Special Memorial Service may be used at another time and place, such as VVA Chapter Hall, where the casket is not present, following the funeral.

3. The family's clergy need not be involved in such a service, and the VVA Chapter leadership will rely on the family and funeral director to keep the clergy informed that it is to take place.

3. The Chapter President or designee will designate the Uniform of the Day to the Head of the Honor Guard/Color Guard.

4. The Head of the Honor Guard will arrange for the participation of the following in the special service:

** Chaplain
** Chapter Officer/Representative
** Chapter Officer/Representative
** Chapter President or Designee

3. Participation in Funeral Service

1. The funeral is properly the concern of the deceased's family, the clergy and the religious denomination to which the clergy belongs. VVA does not have a separate funeral service intended as a substitute for the funeral service of a particular religion. If the family desires a military funeral, the chapter President, designee, or chaplain may assist the family in locating clergy, ideally current or former military chaplains, who are comfortable conducting a service approved by the Armed Forces Chaplains Board and the chaplain's denomination.

2. When family and clergy request that VVA participate in the funeral itself, participation may be arranged by

** Pallbearers (Honor Guard)
** Color Guard
** Chaplain, if requested to participate by the family's clergy

3. If the family's clergy and the VVA Chaplain are the same individual, it still should be expected that the clergy will use the prescribed funeral service of his or her own religion.

4. Participation in Graveside Service

1. When family and clergy request that VVA participate in the Graveside service, participation may involve:
** Pallbearers (Honor Guard)
** Color Guard
** Chaplain if requested to participate by the family's clergy
** Firing Squad
** Bugler

2. The VVA leader may indicate to the clergy specific participation which the VVA detail is prepared to have, however the wishes of the family and clergy must come first.


Updated March 21, 1999



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May 99 Candlelight Memorial| Chaplain Links


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