“Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead. I will measure exactly the sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.” — William Gladston
Freedom of Choice Many of our veterans have expressed a heartfelt wish to be buried naturally, affordably, unfettered and with simplicity, in the respectful manner that reflects their lifelong dedication to the American ideals they have served. It is estimated that there are 22 million veterans who will require burial or cremation. Natural burial in American military cemeteries not only has the potential of saving taxpayer dollars, it will continue our proud tradition of caring for our veterans with respect, dignity, and honor while offering environmentally responsible, affordable disposition choices.
Environmental Impact Nothing resonates more with veterans than the fight to preserve American soil. Natural burial ensures that the land used for cemeteries will be left free of toxic chemicals, concrete, fiberglass, steel, and other metals forever. Families choose locally made and sourced biodegradable caskets and shrouds, supporting their local economy and the artists and craftspeople who keep American folk traditions alive. Natural burial represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a permanent steward of the land.
Affordability Green burial requires significantly less money, natural and human resources to operate while continuing to provide quality goods and services. As a result, vital financial resources can be channeled toward programs that truly matter to veterans and their families, in lieu of money spent on toxic chemicals, water, mowing and other high maintenance activities. Both the Veteran’s Administration and individual families stand to save thousands of dollars by burying green.
Leaving a Lasting Legacy Land used for natural burial becomes a tangible monument to the lives of those buried there. Costs associated with burial support what goes on above ground — sustainable harvesting, agricultural programs, educational events, recreational opportunities — creating community, strengthening family bonds, and providing opportunity, a gift from the veterans, their family members, and all those who care about leaving a last precious legacy for future generations.
Few can so effectively express our shared emotional ties to the ideals of family and country as those who have fought to protect them
As the last of our WWII and Korean veterans approach the end of their lives, they seek assurance that their needs, beliefs and values will be honored. Many veterans have relayed a profound desire for simplicity, frugality, and peace during their final days, surrounded by loved ones who hold the promise of the future.
Caring for our own dead is a fundamental American right. Bringing or keeping our loved ones home after death to be cared for by familiar hands, prepared for final rest with dignity and respect, and quietly witnessed as they lie in honor during home vigils is the essence of home funerals.
Home funerals are:
family-directed, with help from neighbors, friends, and professionals alike
meaningful for all involved, including children
authentic, designed to reflect the individual’s own values
healing for those who can show their last act of love by action
eco-conscious by forgoing invasive, toxic practices
affordable, by conducting basic body care, filing necessary paperwork, transporting to a crematory or burial ground
safe, as confirmed by major US and world health organizations, CID, WHO, CDC
Many home funeral guides provide guidance and support for veterans’ families who choose to conduct home funerals at no cost. To learn more about home funerals, go to the Funeral Consumers Alliance, the National Home Funeral Alliance, or the FuneralPartnership.org to find your state.