Committal Services and Rendering of Military Funeral Honors

Updated on November 19, 2020


Tahoma National Cemetery remains open to visitors, but the Veterans Administration  strongly urges all guests to obey local travel restrictions and avoid unnecessary travel. Visitors should expect that certain portions of a cemetery typically open to the public may be closed (for example, public information centers, chapels).

To ensure the safety of  visitors and employees, all attendees are required to follow these safety measures:

  • Limit the Number of Attendees: Families must abide by cemetery limits on the number of individuals attending the committal service. The number of attendees permitted at committal service will vary based on state and local guidelines for gathering sizes and the ability of the cemetery to accommodate attendees while maintaining physical distancing. Cemetery team members, funeral home personnel, and military honors providers do not count toward the limited number of attendees. Tahoma allows up to 25 as of Non. 19.
  • Wear Face Masks: All family members, attendees, funeral home personnel, military honor providers, and cemetery staff must wear a face mask or covering.
  • Maintain Physical Distancing: A least 6 feet of distance must be maintained between individuals. People living together in the same household do not need to maintain a 6-foot distance from each other.
  • Stay Home if you are Sick: Individuals who are sick or not feeling well should not attend the service.

Families wishing to display floral arrangements on stands at the committal service may do so, however, all handling, placement and removal of the arrangements must be done by funeral home personnel or the family. Floral arrangements will not be transported by cemetery personnel to the gravesite at the time of interment. Families wishing to place a floral arrangement(s) (limit 2) may do so after 4:30 p.m. on the day of interment or any time thereafter. As a reminder, cemeteries will not accept floral arrangements for direct interments, though families or funeral homes are free to place these after 4:30 in the day of interment or any time thereafter.

Funeral home personnel, families and visitors should be aware that some buildings, such as Public Information Centers, Administrative Buildings, and chapels remain closed to the public.

Military funeral honors, customarily provided by the Department of Defense and volunteer honor guards, will be based on local availability. Funeral home directors are encouraged to contact military funeral honors providers to determine services and availability. Military honors personnel will be required to wear a face mask and maintain physical distancing.

Families are not required to conduct a committal service. They may continue to choose direct interment and opt for a memorial service at a later date, when all restrictions have been lifted.

Memorial services for Veterans and eligible family members who were interred without a committal service between March and June are now being scheduled and conducted. Cemetery representatives are reaching out to all these families to discuss their options and schedule a memorial service, if desired. Families may also contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office or the cemetery directly to schedule a memorial service. The NCSO will continue to provide scheduling services for the duration of the current emergency.

With the resumption of committal services, VA has retired the Roll of Honor website. Every Veteran interred in a VA National Cemetery is automatically memorialized with individual profile pages on the Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) site after the cemetery updates the Veteran’s interment record, usually within one or two days of interment. In May VLM was been expanded to allow online visitors to leave comments or “tributes” on a Veteran’s page. The tribute allows visitors to voice memories and appreciation for a Veteran’s service. All comments will be reviewed for appropriateness prior to being posted. We invite all friends and family members with a Veteran interred in a VA national cemetery to visit VLM and leave a tribute.

For more information about the government’s response to COVID-19 please visit: