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Q: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral ( No Answer,   14 Comments )
Subject: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: ghinvst-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 16 Apr 2006 22:42 PDT
Expires: 16 May 2006 22:42 PDT
Question ID: 719671
My father passed on two years ago.  He was still married to my mother
however they had been separated, living separate, and dating others
for 15 years. They never spoke.  I,as the only daughter, received the
flag.  I had a close bond relationship with my father and spoke to him
daily, and at the time of his death knew more about him then my mother
did. To her he was a stranger.  Since he and I were close the flag
meant a lot to me, it keeps his memory alive.  My mother, now two
years later, since getting the house, retirement benefits, etc has
become a bit greedy and now wants the flag that means so much to me.
When he passed on she announced to everyone that they were separated
and had separate lives and she wasnt paying the funeral, etc. Now over
the last two years since getting the house, survivor benefits, his
retirement benefits, etc...she has changed her tune to "I am his
wife".  What is the protocol here?  I read the spouse gets the flag
first, but they were apart and not ever in contact for 15 years. It
means so much more to me than it does to her.

Thank you
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: redfoxjumps-ga on 17 Apr 2006 00:27 PDT
As a practical matter, just get a second flag and give iot to her.
What she doesn't know won't hurt either of you. Life is too short.
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: probonopublico-ga on 17 Apr 2006 00:41 PDT
Redfoxjumps-ga has made a GREAT suggestion.

Go for it!
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: ghinvst-ga on 17 Apr 2006 12:26 PDT
Thank you Great Idea
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: pinkfreud-ga on 17 Apr 2006 12:28 PDT
This answer to a similar question may be of interest to you:
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: daniel2d-ga on 17 Apr 2006 16:25 PDT
I don't like the first suggestion.  It makes you, essentially, a liar.
 Your mother sounds like a jerk.  You have no obligation to buckle
under to her pressure or be intimidated by her.  You can however, in
an adult and mature manner tell her that the flag was presented to
you, it means a lot to you as a rememberence of your father and you
intend to keep it and you hope she understands.  If she does not
understand if will just confirm what a jerk she is.  If she does
understand it might be the opening for you to reconcile because she
will have shown that she has respect for your feelings.  BTW the term
jerk and sociopath are might even be interchangeable here.
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: ghinvst-ga on 17 Apr 2006 19:28 PDT
I guess I am sort of buckling down to her pressure.  I dont like to
make waves, and she has a way at needling about something for a very
long time and not letting it go.  She hinted at taking me to court for
it.  I dont know. I do want a good relationship with her, and she
doesn't seem to understand this at all.(what the flag means to me). I
imagine legally she can get it from me, and I hate to let it go that
far.  I appreciate everyones input.  Any more suggestions are very
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: tutuzdad-ga on 17 Apr 2006 20:22 PDT
My opinion? Tell her no. YOU were presented with the flag by the
presenting authority. Tell her to take it up with the government. If
the government feels they made an error then THEY can give her a flag.

If you give your mother a dupicate flag and she finds out about it,
this will most likley compound the situation exponentially. You sound
like a very honest and sensitive person who is most concerned with
fairness and a happy ending even at the expense your own wishes if
necessary. My guess is that you won't rest knowing she might learn the
truth if you go this route. If your mother threatens to take you to
court, or even persists to the point that it makes the situation
intolerable, just give it to her with a smile. To use your own words,
"as the only daughter" you WILL eventally get it back, no? Using this
strategy, all will be well that ends well, everyone will have been
totally honest, everyone will have gotten what they were entitled to,
and no one will have gotten irreparably hurt.

Please let me know if these reasonable suggestions wins the prize.

Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: ghinvst-ga on 17 Apr 2006 21:48 PDT
I appreciate all the answers from people.  I most likely will just
give her the flag. Her and I live in Georgia and there is enough cold
here in the weather without cold in our relationship. My father lived
here with me for a long while and so his memories are all over the
house.  He was 81 when he passed and had a long happy life.  Thank you
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: frde-ga on 18 Apr 2006 05:32 PDT
The duplicate flag idea is pragmatic, but Tutuzdad is right
- if she finds out she will go ballistic

To me the real question is /why/ she wants the flag
- do you think she is trying to hurt you ?
- I do - it is a battle of wills - she is trying to bully you 
- and I think, even worse, hurt you

Interestingly I had a similar problem a few years ago.
When I was a kid my (now deceased) father brought me back a Masai
spear from a business visit to Kenya where he had line responsibility
for the local company
- in fact the local MD bought the thing, so it was a gift to my father
and then to me.

In 2001 my mother turned up unexpectedly with her new b/f (a really
nice guy) and out of the blue she demanded : 'Where is MY Masai spear

I pointed out that it was not hers, and she insisted that the MD had
bought it for her. Sometimes I am a slow thinker, so I said Ok let's
ask him (he now lives near me).

The next time she turned up with her b/f, I decided to be benignly
vicious, and gave her the spear, saying since 'it is yours', you take
it. She did.

I did that to show her b/f what she is really like - a form of warning.
It was obvious that he got the message.

Incidentally she had tried a similar trick about a year before, when
she claimed a painting my uncle had left me, was left to her.  She
even accused me of faking the will - fortunately I had the will.

Two years ago, she turned up unexpectedly, this time on her own, and
yet again out of the blue, started spouting utter poison - claiming to
have witnessed me doing/saying something absolutely disgraceful.

Unfortunately it was easy to spot who had planted the idea in her
mind, but I'm not sure why, irresponsibility, spite or possibly
financial opportunism - by a sister in law who is highly manipulative.

However, what she said was about the one thing that would really hurt
me, and it darn well did.

In a letter, I refused to talk to my mother until she explained in
writing exactly when this so called event she witnessed took place
(she had distorted a harmless event, into utter poison).
She utterly refused to justify her statement, as usual she has
convinced herself that she is in the right - and I am unreasonable.

Incidentally, even if what she said was true, saying it was so far
from the bounds of acceptable behaviour that few people could forgive

I do not have anything to do with her. I have disowned her.

I'm pretty sure that she has cut me out of her pretty hefty will,
which does not bother me much since she'll probably outlast me. If
not, well, my two brothers who I like, would be foolish not rectify

Basically your mother sounds very like mine.  
Mine devoted her life to making my life a misery - a pure battle of wills.

Actually I found out why - quite interesting - there is a simple explanation.
- it turns out that what she told us about her past was a pack of lies

This flag business is not a 'one off', it is just the latest shot in a
battle that has been going on all your life.

Give in on this one, and she'll find another stick to beat you with.
- one day she'll find your weak spot

In many ways, I got lucky.
When my father died in 1998 he got me to promise to look after her. Of
the three brothers I am the one who is adept at accountancy,
administration etc, my brothers are useless at them.
It was dragging me down.

You might well find that having nothing to do with her substantially
improves your quality of life. I'll bet she only rings you to moan at
you, if you disagree with anything she says, she turns spiteful.
You already said that she re-invents the past - and my bet is she
really believes it.

Look up the legend: 'The Old Man of the Sea'

Ask yourself, if she were not your mother, would you have anything to do with her ?

You could make a stand on this one - and get shot of the problem.

In my view, you should, a Court case would be hillarious
- you have nothing to lose but a yoke

Sadistic control freaks of moderately low intelligence can be very spiteful
- next time she might really 'hit your button'
- and rest assured ... there will be a next time
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: probonopublico-ga on 18 Apr 2006 06:48 PDT
Hi ghinvst-ga 

I very much doubt if Tutuzdad and frde's advice takes you anywhere, as
much as I like and respect both of 'em. Really!

What works for one may not work for another.

There is absolutely no way of reasoning with or satisfying people who
have 'lost it', for whatever reason.

We should feel very sorry for her; she is clearly a troubled woman.

Get a duplicate flag and give it to her.

Even if you were to give her the original flag she may still accuse
you of having bought a dupe.

Just take one thing at a time, seeing her as little as possible.

Always be polite to her but stay distant.

Sadly, she is unlikely to ever get any better.

She is the Cross that you have to bear.

Be brave!

Please tell us what you decide and also how it works out.

Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: byrd-ga on 18 Apr 2006 07:41 PDT
As your father's family member, you were entitled to receive the flag,
and you are entitled to keep it. Your mother has no basis to take you
to court. Any threats of that type are empty, and any such case would
likely be thrown out.

The law pertaining to military honor and the disposition of the folded
flag are contained in "Section 578 of the NDAA for FY 2000 and as
amended by Sections 561 and 564 of the NDAA for FY 2002 and Section
571 of the NDAA for FY 2003 reflects the extensive deliberations
conducted on military funeral honors. The following describes what is
now required of the Department of Defense in the rendering of military
funeral honors for veterans and is codified in Title 10, Chapter 75,
Section 1491, U.S.C."

In part, that section reads:

"presentation of the flag to the veteran?s family."  

If you'd like to read the full text of the law, you can find it here: on the official U.S.
government site that explains the ins and outs of military funeral

Notice, it does NOT say the flag goes to the spouse, or to the eldest
son, or to the only daughter, just to the "family." Now, there maybe
be some precedent where a court has awarded a flag to a surviving
spouse or other family member. I'm not a lawyer and wouldn't know
about that, so you might want to contact your local recruiting office
and ask for a phone number for a military lawyer, then call and ask
just to be sure.

However, *I* (as one of four siblings) have the flag from my father's
funeral, and while I'd consider a request from one of my siblings, I
would NEVER give it up to my mother, who divorced him just two months
before his death, and then played the grieving widow at his funeral.
Some things are just wrong. My mother does not deserve to have the
flag from my father's coffin, and neither does yours. Keep the flag.
and let her know that under the law, you have every right to it. Of
course, this is just my opinion, but whatever you decide, please do so
 in the knowledge that the choice is yours.

Good luck,
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: cynthia-ga on 18 Apr 2006 18:28 PDT
Here's a Q&A to back up Byrd's Comment:

The Flag Guys  ? Next of Kin
..."there is no answer to be found in The US Flag Code. That is the
code that is meant to be a guide for civilians. It is silent on who
gets the flag from a funeral. There just is no protocol known to me
that addresses this exact situation. You might study the Army
Regulation 840 found on West Point's Protocol Office web site and
linked from our own etiquette page. The relavant section only states
that the "The internment flag may be given to the next of kin at the
conclusion of the internment." Even that regulation does not specify
how it is decided who shall be the next of kin..."
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: et3ishak-ga on 27 Apr 2006 21:32 PDT
well, if you father has you as the benificiary of anything listed as
the next of kin..... and no documentation states that he conidered
your mother as the next of kin.... afterall, i do believe in legal
documentation, YOU specify your next of kin, and that is how it
determined, dont quote me on that tho.

so in a nutshell, i think if you are the most recent next of kin he
has listed, then you would be considered the intended next of kin.
Subject: Re: Who Gets The Flag At a Military Funeral
From: et3ishak-ga on 27 Apr 2006 21:35 PDT
you may find it in recent will's, or old military insurance
policies/service records.

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