Unique Urns, Keepsakes And Gifts To Honor A Deceased Military Veteran

The death of a loved one is difficult for everyone. No one is ever ready to say goodbye to those they love, no matter how long we’ve had with them. The death of a military veteran on duty is no different, and in some ways more troubling to deal with. 

Honoring the deceased is a time old tradition that helps the living cope with their loss. In mourning for a military veteran, there are both religious and military traditions for honoring those who have fallen. 

Though it’s difficult to say goodbye to your loved one, sending them off with the accolades they deserve is but one way you can manage your grief. 

Why Is The Loss Of A Military Veteran Different?

Losing an active-duty military service member hits harder for family members for many reasons. Military members have a special job to protect and serve our great country. They put their lives on the line to ensure the freedom of others. But in doing so, they risk potentially leaving their loved ones too soon.   There are several ways in which a military death may feel different for the deceased family and friends:


If the deceased was killed in combat and suffered a violent and sudden death, it’s likely to hit their loved ones harder. No one ever wants to think of the ones they loved in pain. It’s difficult not to reimagine their death in your mind.

You don’t want to know the kind of pain and terror they may have suffered. Knowing your loved one was killed in such a way can leave you with a different kind of grief. 


Though you may be grieving, you may also feel proud of the deceased for the sacrifice they made. Not everyone can be a soldier. Your loved one died doing what they loved, knowing the costs. Their sacrifice allowed others to be free and for that, they get to die a hero. 


Anger is common when dealing with grief. But the anger could be directed at the deceased soldiers' superiors. If your loved one died due to a military fault, it’s troubling knowing they died a senseless death. 


In cases where the death of a military loved one was during a highly publicized event, grieving becomes more difficult. It’s hard for surviving family members to grieve in private when the entire world is watching. They may be continually reminded of their loved one’s untimely death from incessant news feeds and media coverage. 


For both active and inactive military veterans, losing a veteran may leave you with survivor's guilt. As a veteran, you may feel your loved one’s loss even deeper. It may leave you with the feeling of “it could have been me” or “it should have been me”. But no one knows when our time will be, we only know there is a time for everyone. 

Military Funeral Procedures

Funerals for eligible members of the military are mandated by law and free of charge for the surviving family.   The funeral honors for a military veteran include no less than two members of the armed forces in attendance. One member will represent the service branch of the deceased veteran. 

At minimum, the funeral ceremony for a veteran will include the folding and presenting of the United States Burial Flag to the closest surviving family member and the playing of taps (national song of remembrance). If possible, the playing of taps will be performed by a bugler. If a military bugler is not available for the funeral, then there will be an electronic recording of taps played instead. 


All members of the military in every branch are eligible for a military service including:

  • Active-duty military or members in the selected reserve
  • Former military members who served on active duty and departed under honorable conditions
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of obligated service in the reserves and departed under honorable conditions

Military members who were dishonorably discharged or have committed a federal or state crime or have been registered as a sex offender are not eligible for a military funeral. 


The standard military funeral honors for enlisted service members are provided by the branch of military the veteran served. Standard honors include a casket team, a firing party, and a bugler to play the taps. 

For service members who reached the NCO grade, some branches of the armed forces will use the caisson, or horse drawn carriage or wagon to carry the casket to the burial spot. 

The cemetery staff will make all necessary military arrangements upon request from the next of kin or representative. Additionally, a military chaplain can be requested to speak at the funeral ceremony. 


In addition to the standard military funeral honors, certain military veterans may receive special honors including:

  • An escort platoon of various sizes according to the rank of the deceased veteran
  • A caisson
  • Colors team
  • A military band

All service members who die during combat are eligible for full military funeral honors. 


Surviving families of eligible veterans can request military funeral honors through their funeral director. The funeral director will make all arrangements for military honors through the appropriate military service. 

The funeral director can also help to assist with federal and state burial benefits. 

Helpful Resources For Grieving Families

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) assists people who have lost family members in the military. The program provides a survivor-peer support group, grief counseling referrals, and crisis information. They offer adult and youth programs as well as events and workshops that bring surviving military family members together. TAPS is a well-run nonprofit organization that aims to take care of those left behind. Visit their website www.taps.org or call them at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277)

Military One Source offers information on survivor benefits as well as suggested resources for grieving. They have a live chat feature on their website as well as a number to call to speak to a live representative. Visit their website  or call their hotline at 1-800-342-9647

Call the Army Family Assistance Hotline is 1-800-833-6622, and the Army Reservist Hotline is 1-800-318-5298.

The Marine Corps Community Service Center West of the Mississippi hotline number is 1-800-253-1624; the number East of the Mississippi is 1-800-336-4663

Visit the US Department of Veteran Affairs website for information on and applications for burial, health, compensation, special programs, and more benefits you may qualify for. G to www.va.gov for more info. 

Helpful military service-related websites and resources: www.armytimes.com, www.navytimes.com, www.airforcetimes.com, and www.marinecorpstimes.com. 

How To Choose What Type Of Urn To Honor A Military Veteran

The military has their own ways to pay tribute to a veteran. Military funerals carry traditions to honor the dead and send them off with the respect they deserve. A military loss will leave you with the desire to honor your loved one in a unique way. Choosing the right military urn, will help you say goodbye to your loved one in a fitting way.


Should you decide to cremate your deceased veteran, you may want to display their ashes in a military urn that represents the life they lived. The first thing you should consider when choosing an urn for your veteran is what type of material it should be made of. 

Urn Materials


Metal urns are made from durable materials like bronze, steel, and aluminum. They make for a long-lasting choice that can be passed on through generations. Metal urns come in a variety of different designs and colors. Many metal urns allow you the possibility of personalized engravings.

Metal urns can be molded into unique shapes that match your deceased loved one’s personality. They come in a wide variety of different shapes including hearts, ovals, teardrops, and more. Additionally, metal urns are more affordable than other materials used for military urns, making them a great choice if you’re on a budget. 


Wood urns are a classic, timeless way to display your veterans’ ashes. Made from only the strongest tree species, wood urns are resilient and will last for many years to come. The craftsmanship dedicated to wood urns brings with it a natural sense of beauty. You can choose between different shades of wood depending on your preferences. 

As a display piece, wood urns make beautiful additions to home decor. They come in a range of sizes and often offer the possibility of personalized engraving or laser engraving. If your veteran was an outdoorsman (or woman), wood urns would feel appropriate to hold their ashes. Prices vary for wood urns depending on the size and craftsmanship you decide upon.


Marble has been used for urns and gravestones for honoring the dead for hundreds of years. The natural stone material is both beautiful and durable. Marble is long lasting and comes in a variety of different shades. They can be easily engraved with your loved one’s name, date of birth, and loving message. 

Marble urns are beautiful for display in the home. Because they are made of natural, beautiful stone, they are higher priced than some urn materials. 


Glass urns are a unique way to memorialize your deceased veteran. Glass cremation urns come in an endless variety of shapes, colors, and designs. Keepsake cremation glass urns are molded using some of your loved one’s ashes in their design. In this way, your loved one becomes part of the glass artwork itself. 

Keepsake cremation urns are a beautiful way to display your loved one’s ashes in your home. They will look like an elegant piece of artwork sitting on your mantle, shelf, or desk. Glass urns come in a variety of price points, though keepsake cremation urns are more expensive. 


Biodegradable urns are an option for those who are conscious about leaving behind a carbon footprint. A biodegradable urn is made from materials like paper, cardboard, sand, wood fibers, and dissolvable minerals like salt. Biodegradable urns are not meant to last, they are meant to easily break down and biome one with the earth, much like your deceased loved one. 

You may choose a biodegradable urn for your loved one if you are not looking to pass it down to future generations.

Consider The Size Of The Urn

It’s important to think ahead of where you plan on placing your loved one’s urn before deciding on its size. Take measurements of the space where it will be displayed to determine how large of an urn you should order.

Keep in mind that the body weight of your loved one’s ashes will be a determining factor for size as well. Every urn has a specific capacity for how much they can hold. Make sure you know your loved one’s body weight and choose an appropriate sized urn to hold them in. 

Think Of Your Loved One's Personality

Your loved one’s urn should be as unique as they were. Consider their personality type when choosing their final resting place. Our urns come in different materials, shapes, sizes, colors, and more. Choose a style that is representative of their passions and the life they led. 

Military Urn Personalization

The next thing you will need to consider when choosing a military urn for your deceased veteran is the type of personalization you would like to have. What material you choose for your urn will determine the type of personalization you can choose. Though most urn materials allow for engraving, some are easier to engrave than others. 

Additionally, you have the option of including an engraved plate or easel to be placed on your loved one’s urn. The customization options for plates and easels include:

Color: Choose from a variety of color combinations that complement your loved one’s personality. Or you can stick to simple colors such as silver aluminum or gold brass. 

Engraving Style: Choose from either laser engraving or mechanical and scribed engraving. With laser engraving, the lettering is very precise. It will have the look of being printed on the plate. Mechanical and scribed engraving looks more like traditional engraving techniques. The lettering will be etched into the plate, and you will be able to feel the texture and edges of the lettering. 

Size: We offer a wide selection of different sized plates and easels to complement the size of your loved one’s urn. 

You will also have the option of adding special features to your loved one’s urn. For example, do you want the urn to be a specific shape? We offer multiple shapes and styles of urns to fit every personality.   Do you want it personalized with a photo? Many of our urns feature the possibility of photo laser engraving of your deceased loved one. 

What Makes Our Military Urns Unique For Honoring A Veteran?

We pride ourselves on delivering the most variety in memorial products, including military veteran urns. Nearly all our military urns can be customized and personalized specifically to each veteran. Some of our military personalization options include:

Custom wood urns: Our wood urns are available in different sizes and wood grains and can be fitted with a custom engraved plate. 

Custom military urns with photo: Our military style wood urns give you the option of including a photo of your loved one in front of the backdrop of the American flag. The picture has an oil paint texture that complements the artistry of the urn itself. 

Handmade military urn: We have handmade urns that are crafted specifically for honoring deceased veterans. The intricate wood carvings on top of the cylindrical handmade urns display a place to set a candle while the front is recessed slightly to accommodate for a military medallion of your choosing.  

Military medallions: We provide military medallions for every branch of the military for cremation urn display. 

Some of the military urns we offer include:


Our wood photo engraved veteran urn is a simple yet elegant choice for displaying your loved one’s ashes. Have your veteran’s photo engraved directly on the urn with the American flag in the background that represents their service to our country. 


Our wooden infinity style urns are handmade with expert craftsmanship. They incorporate military medallions specific to your veteran’s military branch. On top of each of these urns is a place to hold a small candle to keep the memory of your veteran burning bright. 


Our stone patriot urn is a simple design of white stone that incorporates your veteran’s military branch medallion and a colorful image of the American flag. 

What Kind Of Keepsakes & Gifts Are Available To Pay Tribute To A Veteran?

You'll find a number of great options when it comes to keepsake ideas and gifts that will help you to honor and pay your respects to a veteran in your life or any veteran that holds special meaning.


Personalized keepsakes to celebrate your fallen hero are beautiful ways for you and your family to remember your loved one. You can choose from well-made military memorial jewelry, to custom coins, keychains, and more. A military remembrance keepsake can serve as a way to better process you and your family’s grieving. 

Cremation Jewelry

Military cremation jewelry incorporates ashes into jewelry for unique and personable military memorial jewelry. Cremation jewelry is available in multiple styles including pendants, bracelets, and rings. Below are some of our favorite picks for cremation jewelry:

Gold Initial Cremation Pendant

Keep your beloved veteran close to your heart by wearing their ashes and initial around your neck. The dainty gold plated 20” chain initial necklace serves as a beautiful reminder of your loved one. It’s easily disguisable as an ordinary necklace but features a self-fillable compartment for storing your veteran’s ashes. 

Black Stainless Steel Nautical Bracelet

Honor your navy veteran with the stainless-steel nautical cremation bracelet. The black stainless steel anchor feature holds your loved one’s ashes while symbolizing their service. Made for both men and women, it’s a discreet cremation jewelry design for keeping your veteran close. 

Women's Cherished Cremation Ring

Made from rhodium and sterling silver, this heart shaped cremation ring is simple, yet elegant. Your loved one is in your heart, both figuratively and literally in this cremation ring design. 

Photo Engraved Jewelry

Photo engraved jewelry uses laser image burning to print a picture of your loved on a beautiful pendant or bracelet. Check out our top picks below:

Birthstone Dog Tag Pendant Necklace

The gold-plated dog tag pendant necklace features a laser printed image of your loved one along with their birthstone. Your deceased veteran can stay with you in spirit and image. 

Heartfelt Picture Pendant Bracelet

Wear your loved one’s image on your wrist in the form of a stylish heart shaped pendant. Picture bracelets are available in stainless steel. 

Fingerprint Jewelry

Nothing is as unique as your fingerprint. That’s why fingerprint jewelry is a tribute to a veteran like no other. Memorialize your deceased veteran forever with their personal fingerprint etched onto a beautiful pendant or ring like these two below:

Rose Gold Plated Rectangular Birthstone Fingerprint Pendant

Wear both your loved one’s fingerprint and birthstone around your neck. The rose gold-plated rectangular pendant can be personalized with a special message on the back side with the fingerprint etching on the front. 

Solid Gold Women's Fingerprint Ring

The women’s solid gold fingerprint ring features your loved one’s fingerprint around the outer edges with an option to engrave a special message on the inside. It’s a truly beautiful and unique way to honor your deceased military veteran. 

Ashes Into Jewelry

Ashes into jewelry incorporates your loved one’s ashes into the jewelry itself, meaning it is mixed into the material used to make the jewelry piece. Each piece is made to order once we receive your loved one’s ashes. Check out two of your options below:

Flowered Rectangular Sterling Silver Pendant

The beautifully designed contemporary pendant necklace looks stylish with either casual or dressy. You’ll carry a part of your loved one with you in a way that only you will know. 

Willowbrook Ash Ring

The beautiful cream-colored opal sterling silver ring is an elegant piece for any woman who has lost a loved one. The gemstone feature is made from crushed glass like resin and combined with your loved one’s ashes. 


Gifts to honor the deceased military veteran can help their surviving friends and family cope with their grief. A military remembrance keepsake memorializes the deceased and gives the receiver something to remember them by. Consider your options for gifts in honor of veteran. What would your recipients appreciate receiving? 


Jewelry is a nice gift for anyone who wears jewelry. But not everyone does. If you’re thinking of gifting military remembrance jewelry, be sure it’s something they would use. Also be sure to consider your style options. Look for a style of veteran remembrance jewelry that aligns with their personal style. 

Remembrance Keychain

Remembrance keychains make great universal gifts for everyone. Choose from memorial photo keychains and memorial initial keychains to honor your loved one.

Memorial Coins

Memorial coins engraved with your loved one’s name and likeness act as tokens of remembrance for your military veteran. 

Remembrance Memorial Magnets

Memorial magnets are customized with color photos of your deceased veteran and raised lettering of the deceased’s name on the bottom of the image. Metal memorial magnets come in sets and make great gifts or favors to funeral attendees. 

What Makes Our Keepsakes & Gifts Unique To Honor A Veteran?

Almost all the keepsakes and gifts we offer to honor a military veteran are customizable and can be personalized with your veteran’s name, photo, birthstone, or military medallion. Some of our customizable keepsake options include:


We offer commemorative flag cases to display your deceased veteran’s burial flag in various types of wood. In addition, we offer a pedestal urn to complement the flag case. Including the flag case and pedestal urn together makes for a lovely way to display your loved one’s ashes and military honors. 


Our military memorial jewelry pieces and keychains can be etched with your loved one’s own fingerprint. We offer multiple shapes and styles of fingerprint jewelry and keepsakes with the option of personalized engraving. Our dog tag style fingerprint pendants are symbolic of your loved one’s service and time in the military.


Jewelry pendants with your loved one’s photo and engraving of their handwriting make our pieces extra special and unique. Their image is memorialized along with their handwriting in a lovely jewelry pennant that can be worn around your neck close to your heart. 


We turn your loved one’s ashes into jewelry for the most personable way to remember your loved one. Choose from either urn style jewelry that holds ashes, or cremation jewelry that incorporates their ashes into the design itself.


Our specialty made American flag can incorporate your loved one’s ashes into its design. Your deceased veteran can be forever memorialized in the flag of the country they proudly served. 


Memorial coins can be customized with the deceased veteran’s likeness and engraved with their name or fingerprint.


Our metal bookmarks can be engraved with the veteran’s fingerprint, name, or special message.


Our keychains come in various shapes and styles and can be engraved with your loved one’s fingerprint and photo. 


Memorial boxes are used to hold keepsake items such as medals, awards, badges, photos, and more. We offer customized engraving for the plate placed on top of the box. 


We can print a memorial portrait of your deceased veteran that looks like an oil painting.


Memorial magnets can be personalized with your loved one’s picture and name. Our magnets work on any metal surface such as refrigerators, mirrors, and more.  

What Are Some Other Types Of Keepsakes Or Gifts You Can Get To Honor A Military Veteran?

There are so many different and unique options out there when it comes to choosing the right keepsake or gift to remember a veteran that has passed. Below are some additional ideas.


A shadowbox is a large open frame case typically lined with velvet or other soft material. The case is used to display items such as badges, coins, medals, photos, and more. Shadowboxes come in different materials and styles. They are a great gift or memorial keepsake for memorializing the life of your military veteran. 


Memorial ornaments can be custom made to honor and pay tribute to a veteran in your family. Ornaments make great gifts and additions to family Christmas decorations or for year-round display.

Most memorial ornaments give you the option of incorporating your loved one’s photo or likeness. Additionally, there may be custom design ornaments specifically made for the branch of the military your loved one served. 


A memorial quilt is a unique way to honor your fallen veteran. A quilt can incorporate various fabrics representative of your loved one’s service. Some quilts may incorporate fabric from your loved one’s military uniform, an American flag, or sew in special medallions, badges, emblems, or other special keepsakes that remind you of your loved one.

Quilts can be displayed in a shadowbox or incorporated into your home decor. 


A snow globe is a unique and beautiful memorial gift for honoring your deceased veteran. You can choose from snow globe options such as incorporating a photo of the deceased or symbolic artwork to be encased in the globe.

Some snow globes offer you the option of personalized engraving of your loved one’s name or personal message. Snow globes can be gifted for any season and make for unique and beautiful home decor. 


A custom-made Teddy Bear or stuffed animal is a cozy, sweet gift for family members or children of deceased veterans. These stuffed animals can be personalized to represent the fallen veteran.

The stuffed animal may be dressed in the uniform of the branch of military service that the deceased veteran served. It may also include special medallions or keepsakes. You can name the stuffed toy after the deceased and display it in your home or use it for comforting a child or yourself.


A glass or plastic flag display case can memorialize the veteran’s burial flag in your home. The display case can be set on a mantle, shelf, or table. You can include the flag by itself in the display or special military medals and other keepsakes. 

Veteran Keepsake & Gift Ideas Frequently Asked Questions

What do you say when someone dies in the military?

There is never the right thing to say to someone who has recently lost a loved one. Losing a loved one in the military may be especially difficult depending on the circumstances of their death. Comfort the grieving survivors like you would anyone who lost someone close to them. Tell them you are sorry for their loss and that you are thankful for the deceased veteran’s service to our country. Remind them that their loved one died a hero and they should be proud to carry on their legacy. 

What is the protocol for a military funeral?

A military funeral will consist of no less than two members of the armed forces. They are expected to dress in their formal wear and be prepared to salute when: the hearse passes in front of them, the casket is moved, during the gun salute, and during the playing of Taps and as the casket is lowered into the ground. Depending on the rank of the deceased veteran, they will receive either the standard or full honors for a military funeral. 

Are there resources for surviving family members of deceased veterans? 

There are many resources for the surviving family members of deceased veterans. Some of these resources include government and nonprofit hotlines that assist surviving families through their grief. There are also support groups that include other people who’ve lost a military family member who help each other through their shared experiences. In addition, there are government resources and benefits for surviving military families including help with funeral costs, compensation, and more. 

Are there urns specific for a military veteran?

Yes, there are urns specifically made for military veterans. We offer multiple styles, materials, and customizable options for your military veterans’ urn. Many military veteran urns display the branch of the military the veteran served in or special military medallions. Like other urn, you can have a military urn personalized with engraving, photos, and more. 

Is there cremation jewelry made for a military veteran?

Yes, cremation jewelry can be made for veterans just like anybody else. Some cremation jewelry for veterans are specific to the branch of the military that the veteran served in. These pieces are more personable for the wearer. 

Can I have a custom urn made for my military relative that died?

Custom urns can be made for deceased military relatives and personalized with the deceased’s specifications. Many military urns display the branch of the military the veteran served in. They also allow for personalized photo engraving, message engraving, come with American flags to display beside them, and other personalized options. 

What is a good gift to honor the loss of a military veteran?

There are many gift options to choose from to honor a military veteran. Cremation jewelry is a personable gift that allows the wearer to carry a piece of the deceased with them wherever they go. Thumbprint keychains are universal gifts for everyone and incorporate the deceased’s unique thumbprint that the receiver can keep with them forever. Memorial coins incorporate the deceased’s likeness and name engraving and make for easy gift ideas for a larger number of people. 

What is a Gold Star family?

A gold star family is the surviving family of a fallen service member who died during combat. The family can display a Gold Star service flag to signify that they lost a loved one during military service. The number of gold stars on the flag corresponds to how many family members they lost. The US military also issues Gold Star lapel pins to the family in honor of their deceased veteran. Being a Gold Star family is unfortunately an honor that nobody wants but an honor all the same. 

Honoring Their Life & Their Service

Families of deceased veterans face a special challenge in grieving their loved one.  Deciding on how to honor your military family member after death is made easier with multiple customizable and personalized options for urns and memorial keepsakes and gifs.

Though these items can never fill the hole in your heart that your loved one left, they can help you to honor and remember them forever. 

May 10, 2022 by Frances Kay