VFW Memorial Service

For National and Department Conventions and for Posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and Their Auxiliaries

According to the VFW Ritual, “Posts should hold a public memorial service for their departed comrades, at least once a year. This may be held as a special ceremony or in conjunction with a public meeting.”

For extensive information on the VFW Memorial and chaplain resources see Rev. Peter R. Hook’s (https://vfwpa.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp?pid=88797) page on VFW PA.

MEMORIAL SERVICE (VFW Ritual Pg. 74 | Verified Feb. 2021 | Post Titles )

Commander takes their station and calls the session to order with one rap of the gavel.

Commander: Comrades, Members of the Auxiliary and friends, we meet at this time to commemorate our comrades of the United States armed forces who have answered the last call. / The VFW Ritual provides that the audience shall refrain from applauding. The officer of the day will see that there is no disturbance during the ceremonies. 

Officer of the Day: Commander, your order will be obeyed. 

Commander: I request that the Chaplain preside. 

Chaplain: Comrade Commander, I am at your service and shall endeavor to perform this solemn duty in the spirit of faith, hope and charity. 

(Chaplain takes station of the Commander.) (Memorial Roll Call). 

Chaplain: Will all please be seated. We will now have the lighting of the POW/MIA candle and the Armed Forces Vigil candle by the Commander and President of the Auxiliary. 

(The Commander and President of the Auxiliary will light the two appropriate candles on the altar escorted by the Sergeant-at-Arms, and return to their seats.) 

Chaplain: O God Almighty, Creator and Ruler of the Universe, some of our comrades and companions are prisoners of war and missing in action. Comfort them, we pray, in their isolation from their homes and loved ones; supply their needs and protect them from want and deprivation; strengthen and sustain them that they may face discouragement with courage and hardship with resolution. Grant that they may find patience to endure, and peace in the knowledge of Your continuing presence. 

O God, we ask that You will strengthen and protect all our members of the armed forces of the United States of America. In the day of battle may they be courageous and strong, resourceful and capable, resolute and victorious. In the time of peace may they serve with dignity and honor, as effective emissaries of good will for this Nation. May their devotion and loyalty to You and to their homeland inspire them in moments of challenge, and comfort them in tribulation and long separations from loved ones. 

And finally, we ask they may return safely to serve You and our Country in the days and years to come. Amen. 

Chaplain: Comrades and friends, we will join in singing “Nearer, My God, To Thee.” 

Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee! 

E’en though it be a cross 

That raiseth me, 

Still all my song shall be 

Nearer, my God, to Thee! 

Nearer, my God, to Thee! 

Nearer to Thee! 

Though like a wanderer, 

The sun gone down, 

Darkness be over me 

My rest a stone, 

Yet in my dreams, I’d be 

Nearer, my God, to Thee! 

Nearer, my God, to Thee! 

Nearer to Thee! 

Chaplain: Comrade Commander, to whom should the true soldier look for help in the battles of life? 

Commander: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” 

Chaplain: Comrade Senior Vice Commander-in- Chief, what assurance have we of a prolonged stay among the scenes and activities of earth? 

Senior Vice Commander: “For we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.” 

Chaplain: Comrade Junior Vice Commander-in- Chief, have you a message of condolence for those bereaved? 

Junior Vice Commander: I have. The Book of Life tells us that “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.”

Chaplain: What message has the Chaplain of the Auxiliary? 

Chaplain of Auxiliary: I have a message of hope that should inspire our comrades at this solemn moment and all through life. The message is from the Captain of our Salvation. He says: “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

Chaplain: Comrades, we are thankful for these inspiring thoughts. Let us learn the lesson of the hour which is that we, too, are nearing the end of life’s pilgrimage and sooner or later these services may be held in our memory. 

Let us so live that when our summons comes we may depart with a good conscience, in the comfort of a sincere religion, belief in God, and perfect charity toward all mankind. Let us pray. 

(Chaplain delivers extemporaneous prayer following which a soloist may sing “Sleep Soldier Boy,” or any other appropriate song.) 

Chaplain: Comrades, in commemorating the virtues of our departed heroes who served their country in time of need we now offer our symbolic tributes. I place upon our sacred shrine these red flowers, which symbolize the zeal of our departed comrades in upholding brotherhood, truth and justice. (Places flowers.) 

Chaplain: Comrade Past Commander, what tribute have you to offer? 

Past Commander: These white flowers I place as a token of the purity of affection we have for our departed comrades. (Places flowers.) 

Chaplain: Comrade Commander, have you a tribute to offer upon this sacred shrine? 

Commander: The blue of our national standard symbolizes truth and fidelity. Therefore I place these blue flowers from nature’s bosom in token of our sincere respect for all departed comrades. (Places flowers.) 

Chaplain: Members of the Auxiliary, will you offer a tribute to the memory of our departed comrades? 

President of Auxiliary: I place upon our sacred shrine this wreath as a symbol of eternity. Its color bespeaks life everlasting. Thus do we say that the deeds of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, on land, on sea and in the air, are immortalized in the hearts of a grateful people. (Places evergreen wreath.) 

Chaplain: Let us rise and sing “AMERICA”

My country, ’tis of thee, 

Sweet land of liberty, 

Of thee I sing. 

Land where my fathers died, 

Land of the Pilgrim’s pride, 

From every mountain side, 

Let freedom ring. 

Our father’s God, to Thee, 

Author of Liberty, 

To Thee we sing; 

Long may our land be bright, 

With freedom’s holy light, 

Protect us by Thy might, 

Great God, our King. 

(If there is a speaker, they will now be introduced and deliver a brief inspirational message. The chaplain will offer the benediction, either extemporaneous or from the Prayers for Various Occasions, followed by a period of silence and the playing of taps.)


Commander; Officer of the Day; Chaplain; Sr. Vice Commander; Jr. Vice Commander; Chaplain of Auxiliary; Past Commander; President of the Auxiliary.

Items: Alter draped in black, open bible, small Flag of the United States, small table draped in black between alter and commander’s station as shrine; (floral Maltese Cross); POW/MIA candle and the Armed Forces Vigil candle; red flowers; white flowers; blue flowers; evergreen wreath

For National and Department Conventions and for Posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and Their Auxiliaries 

The place of assembly should be arranged as for regular session of the order, altar draped in black — open Bible thereon and a small staffed Flag of the United States placed upon the altar. 

A small table draped in black between the altar and the commander’s station is used as a shrine. A floral Maltese Cross adds much to the appearance of the memorial altar. This cross may be made in one piece or in sections.

Representatives of the Auxiliary left of Commander. 

Commander takes their station and calls the session to order with one rap of the gavel. 

[A Post may, if feasible, conduct a MEMORIAL ROLL CALL at this point. 

The Commander steps in front of their station, the officer of the day on their right, the Post historian on their left. The Commander calls the roll of all deceased Post members. After each name the Commander pauses while the officer of the day announces the member’s service organization, with Post historian giving place and date of death.]

Speaker?Pres AuxAux CHPPodiumCHP/CMDSRJR

9. “Sleep, Soldier Boy,” by Dorothy Alexander, Auxiliary No. 409, or any other appropriate song may be used at all VFW memorial services.

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