Writing a veteran's obituary is an important task that takes some thought and planning. Whether you are honoring a loved one for his or her service or writing an obituary for a fallen soldier, a template offers a great starting point to create a meaningful and important reminder of a heroic life. With a basic understanding of the process and a veteran obituary template, you will have everything you need to write a special memorial.
How to Write a Veteran's Obituary
Writing a veteran's obituary comes down to a few basic steps. You'll need to gather important information and take some time to think about the person's life. You'll also need to know some things about their military service and possibly conduct some short interviews with family and friends. Here's how to get started:
- Gather basic information about the veteran. This should include the person's birth date, death date, family members, education, and work history. All of these details are important to include in the obituary, whether or not the person ever served in the military.
- Find out details about the veteran's service. When did he or she serve and with what branch? What rank did he or she attain? Was the veteran involved in conflicts, and did he or she receive any special decoration?
- Interview family and friends. What made this person special, and what did he or she enjoy doing? How did serving in the military impact the veteran's life?
- Begin writing a draft obituary. Organize everything with facts about the person and their service in the first section, details about the individual's life in the next section, and information about a memorial service or funeral at the end. You can use a veteran's obituary template to help.
Simple Veteran's Obituary Template
A veteran obituary template will help you organize your research into a final draft. Using this template is easy. Simply click on the thumbnail to download the editable PDF and then enter the information you have. You'll end up with a complete obituary that is customized to fit the veteran you are honoring. For helping using templates like this, take a look at some tips for using PDF printables.
Sample Obituary for a War Veteran
Leonard Smith, a veteran of World War II and longtime resident of Silver Lake, passed away on March 21, 2021 surrounded by family. Larry, as he was known to many in the area, was born July 12, 1925 to Erik and Vera (Ellis) Smith and attended Silver Lake High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army. As a private, first class for the Army, Larry saw action in Europe, and he had many amazing stories of his time there. He wrote incredible letters home to his future wife, Ella Conner, detailing the antics of his fellow soldiers, the scenery in the area, and a very edited description of the action he encountered.
The U.S. Army recognized Larry for his honorable service with a Purple Heart, specifically for his heroic action at the Battle of Bulge, where he pulled another soldier to safety despite being wounded himself. Larry didn't speak much about this moment or about his time in the Army, but he did proudly march in parades with other veterans and was active in the VFW.
After the war, Larry returned home and married Ella Conner on June 19, 1945. Together, they built a business providing clock and lamp repair to the residents of Silver Lake. After their two daughters were grown, they enjoyed traveling the country in their RV. They also participated in historical reenactments from the war years and organized an annual Memorial Day service to honor local fallen soldiers.
Larry was preceded in death by his wife, Ella, and his parents and siblings. He's survived by his daughters Carol (Butch) Wilson and Ann (Paul) Krauss, as well as five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. His family has organized a memorial service to honor Larry's life and military service, which will be held at the Silver Lake Funeral Home on March 27, 2021 at 3:00 pm.
Troubleshooting Tips for Writing a Veteran's Obituary
Writing a veteran's obituary can be challenging for several reasons. These tips can help if you find yourself stuck:
- If you need to find more information about a veteran's service, you can contact the National Personnel Records Center for help.
- Writing an obituary for a fallen soldier can be especially challenging. Before speaking with the soldier's family, review some advice for talking to people who are grieving.
- Ask friends and family what made this veteran feel proud about his or her service, and take some time to listen to their answers. It's details like these that make an obituary personal and meaningful.
- Collaborate with others who knew the veteran. Writing an obituary is an important job, and it doesn't have to fall entirely on you. Write a draft and then have friends and family read it and offer tips for revising.
How to Find Obituaries for Fallen Soldiers and Other Veterans
If you're searching for an obituary for a veteran or want to use past obituaries as inspiration for writing your own, they are easy to find. You can access local newspaper obituary archives around the date of the person's death. You can also conduct online searches to find old obituaries. Either way, the information is out there, and your beautifully written obituary will be available to future descendents of this veteran.