The 18 Gun Salute
The traditional military salute is a 21 gun salute. The tradition dates back to England were they would fire off cannons from a Naval ship. Americans have adopted this tradition with an honor guard of 7 members, who will fire off 3 rounds each – making a 21 gun salute.
There is a tradition within the Jewish American Military Community to fire off 18 rounds to signify “chai,” the Jewish symbol for life. This small change can have an extreme significance to families with a Jewish background. If you need help discussing this change with the Honor Guard, please contact JWV National Headquarters.
Need to Request an Honor Guard or JWV members at a Veteran’s Funeral?
Depending on availability, JWV members can attend your loved one’s funeral as well as their Yarzheit. Please contact your local JWV Post or National Headquarters to request an Honor Guard or JWV contingent at your loved one’s funeral.
If you are interested in a Yarzheit remembrance, please check with the National Museum of American Jewish Military History’s Yarzheit Program.
Planning Your Veteran Funeral
As uncomfortable as the subject may seem, researching and documenting how you would like to be laid to rest is as much a benefit to yourself as it is to your loved ones. Do you wish to have military funeral honors? Would you like a military marker on your headstone? These are questions that your family must answer for you, if you do not plan now. JWV has created this practical guide to assist you with the task.
As we continue serving the American veteran as well as our active duty servicemembers, it is important that we do not forget those who came before us. Their tenacity and sacrifices laid the foundation for our country’s freedoms and allowed us to enjoy what so many take for granted. This is the foundation of JWV’s Flagging program, where veterans visit the grave sites of the fallen, keeping them clean and placing American flags upon them. Through their efforts, these heroes will never be forgotten.
Our members often bring their families and friends, and coordinate with Boy and Girl scout troops when they go flagging, instilling a sense of community and perspective within them. This is an important part of L’dor V’dor, or passing out the values we cherish from one generation to the next.
Need to Request a Flagging Service?
We occasionally field requests from family members who are unable to visit their loved one’s grave. Depending on the location and availability of our members, our posts may be able to visit the grave of your hero and plant an American flag at their grave. If you have a loved one that needs remembering, please contact your local post or National Headquarters.