Memorial Service

How Can I Pay Tribute?

June 14th, 2013

Each year hundreds of men and women who serve and protect our communities are lost in the line of duty. Police officers and firefighters put the safety and well-being of their neighborhoods first when they go to work everyday and some pay the ultimate price. Tragedy strikes the entire community when public servants fall. Families and friends must come to terms with the difficult meaning behind a loved one’s service to the world. And a good community has a debt to pay to these everyday heroes.

It is in these situations that you ask “How Can I Pay Tribute?” There are many different ways to show sympathy and respect to fallen service members.

Remembering FirefightersSending Flowers

At the time of the funeral, sending flowers is a wonderful expression of heartfelt respect. They provide a focal point and natural beauty in a trying circumstance. Flowers are an easy way to reach out and are viewed in many different customs and cultures as a sign of sympathy.

Moment of Silence

After a community has experienced loss, normal activities often have to resume quickly. If you are in a leadership position in an organization, big or small, it can be timely and comforting to suggest a moment of silence to remember the fallen. At the next ball game, church service, or even at your book club, publicly acknowledging these events and offering a moment of collective reverence can mean a great deal to everyone.

Candlelight VigilCandlelight Vigil

Organizing a simple meeting in a public space where people light a candle as a symbol of hope can bring peace and solidarity in an uncertain time. This is not the time for involved conversations or providing elaborate refreshments. Maintain an air of decorum and select a place that was meaningful to the lost or holds significance to mourners.


Offering support to families is a way to honor the deceased in a very real and tangible way. A collection for funeral costs or, on a larger scale, for a public memorial can be a way for an entire community to help pay tribute. Often involving a local bank to accept the donations in the name of the lost can simplify the process for the donors and the recipients.

Bring About Awareness

You may not be able to change a bad situation but you can encourage others with a positive awareness of good deeds. Whether it is wearing an awareness ribbon dedicated to the cause or  creating an opportunity for others to acknowledge lost members of the community, small deeds can be appreciated by those suffering.

An uplifting example includes two young girls in Houston, Texas, who gave the profits of their lemonade stand to benefit local firefighters who perished in a 5-alarm fire. This collection may have been financially small but was huge in bringing about community awareness.

When tragedy reaches into our lives, often it is helpful to the grieving process to reach out to those around you.

There is great strength in numbers and
it is always an appropriate gesture for a community to honor those that serve it.

Remembering Lost Loved Ones During the Holidays

May 29th, 2012
Memorial Tree Planting

Remember Loved Ones By Planting A Memorial Tree

The holidays may be a time which brings friends and family closer together, but it’s not easy to celebrate with the loss of a loved one weighing on your mind. While their absence may be painful, there are many beautiful ways to remember those you have lost and to celebrate their life during the holidays.

Overcoming Holiday Sadness through Memorials

If you want to remind yourself and others that a loved one’s passing has not ceased their importance in your life, a memorial can serve as the perfect reminder.  Many different types of memorials are out there and each could be easily personalized with intimate touches. Below are a few examples.

  • A living memorial, such as a tree or rose bush, makes a perfect opportunity to host a memorial service in your loved one’s honor.
  • Annually lighting a candle allows those who participate to take a moment to remember those they have loved and lost and may be displayed in a window for all to see.
  • Christmas ornaments or memorial plaques may be set up with holiday decorations as a seasonal reminder of a loved one’s memory.
  • Hand-maid memorials give kids the opportunity to participate in the remembrance process.  (Ideas and templates  for homemade memorials may be found online.)

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Personalizing A Loved One’s Funeral

November 8th, 2011

Planning a funeral for a loved one is a difficult time for anyone. A lot of work, time and effort goes into the planning process. Also, you want to make sure that it’s a special time of remembrance for your loved one. Have you thought about ways that you can personalize your loved one’s funeral?

Consider Their Unique Personality Traits

Funeral Wagon - Personalized Funeral TransportationWhen planning to personalize your loved ones funeral, think back to the fond memories you shared with them. Think about their stand-out qualities, and what other people saw in them. Also, consider their likes, hobbies, dislikes, achievements and passions.

Personalizing The Funeral Ceremony

Once you have thought about what that person meant to others and took into consideration their passions and likes, get together with other family members and come up with a creative way to incorporate these elements into the ceremony.

Personalize the visitation, eulogy, music, readings, procession, committal service, the gathering or reception. Each can be personalized in different and many ways. For the visitation, display photos, memorabilia, collections of their work or their achievements for a personalized effect. Choose music that is meaningful to that person, poetry and readings that describe that person’s life,
or even have the procession vehicle catered towards their hobbies or interest.

Ask people that were closest to that person to give readings, play music or be a pallbearer; however they feel they can contribute. A great way especially to personalize the ceremony is during the speech. This is the time that they can talk about all of their great qualities and passions.

More Tips For Personalizing A Loved One’s Funeral

FAQs: Funeral Planning

September 10th, 2011

Here at FSN Funeral Homes, we strive to find the best advise for the questions so commonly asked about funeral planning and the details that come along with it. Here is a list of the most frequent questions and their answers. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

FAQ : Funeral Planning

 Funeral QuestionsWhat do I need to know about funeral planning?

There are a few basics you should always keep in mind when planning a funeral.

  • Be informed and ask questions.
  • Go over all options available at several funeral homes, making sure the funeral home you chose is suitable for your personal needs and budget.
  • Request an itemized price list.
  • Make the arrangements for a personalized service to honor your loved one.

Who do I need to contact first when pre-planning a funeral?

  • When pre-planning a funeral you can call the funeral home directly and work with the funeral director there, or you can contact an Estate Planning attorney.

How much does an average funeral cost?

  • The average funeral in today’s time is somewhere between $6,000 – $8,000.  This estimated price includes, all services provided by the funeral home, casket/urn, burial and cemetery arrangements.

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Funeral Home Comparison Checklist

August 31st, 2011

Today, many families are not aware of their role in the funeral planning process. Once you have an idea of what you would like to take place at the service you are planning, you should sit down with a funeral director to go over the logistics.

Something you should know:

You are the one who determines the cost of the funeral services that will be held for you or your family members. The details of the services are guided and determined by your needs, and budget. But, not all funeral homes are created equal, they come in different sizes, styles and have different specialties. It is a wise idea to ‘shop’ around before deciding which funeral home to work with. Below is a checklist that will aid you in covering all the cost aspects associated with planning a funeral.

Funeral Home Comparison Checklist

Make copies of this checklist to compare the prices of services offered at funeral homes in your area.

Name of Funeral Home____________________________________________

Name of Crematory_______________________________________________

Name of Cemetery________________________________________________

Notes on Business Reputation_____________________________________


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Military Funeral Honors and Customs

August 18th, 2011

United States Veterans are given honorable, military funerals to commemorate the time they spent while serving our country. Family and friends are comforted in the traditions and respectful services created in honor of their loved one. Serving our country in the military is incredibly honorable. So, with respect to the fallen soldiers who have made this sacrifice, we salute them with tradition, respect and honor in the way of Military Honors.

Military funerals can take place at private cemeteries and national cemeteries dedicated to fallen soldiers across the country. There are 128 national cemeteries and 33 soldier’s lots through out our nation alone. Religious traditions are often tied into the service to honor both the deceased’s religion and military duty.

Draping the Casket with the National Flag

The tradition of draping the American Flag over the casket of a fallen soldier began during the Napoleonic War between 1796 and 1815. The deceased were carried off the battlefield covered in flags to honor their sacrifice. This practice continues to this day, but instead of several small flags, a large American Flag is draped over the top of the casket.

A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who served honorably in the U. S. Armed Forces.

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Placing Pebbles on Gravestones: A Jewish Tradition Explained

August 5th, 2011

Example of Jewish Headstones with PebblesIt is unlikely that you will see flower arrangements laid upon headstones in traditional Jewish cemeteries. Instead, you might notice heaps or mounds of pebbles atop of the grave sites. Large and small in no particular pattern or shape. This is an age-old Jewish tradition that takes roots from Biblical stories. It’s hard to tell exactly where the tradition originated, however, it is thought to go back to ancient times.

Evidence in Scripture

  • In the book of Exodus Moses spent 40 years traveling from Egypt to Israel. Instead of burying their dead, they would cover the body with a sheet and then cover with rocks and pebbles to hold the sheet down.
  • In the book of Exodus God manifested the 10 Commandments on a stone tablet in the presence of Moses.
  • In the book of Exodus Moses is told by God to strike the rock at Horeb to bring forth water from the rock; this was done in front of the elders of Israel in God’s name.
  • In the book of Genesis Abraham was told to build an altar (a mound of rocks) to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, as a test from God.

Adorning gravestones with pebbles

In Judaism it is customary for Stones of Remembrance to be placed on gravestones by family and friends visiting the departed.

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Hispanic Funeral Traditions

July 20th, 2011

The funeral traditions of the Spanish-speaking cultures are similar, but have many differences and variations from each other. For the purpose of this article, we are generalizing the similarities of customs rooted in Hispanic cultures to give you a brief description of what to expect at a Hispanic Funeral.

Hispanic Funeral Traditions Are Primarily Catholic

Because of the how deeply-rooted Catholicism is in Hispanic heritages, even non-Catholics include Catholic traditions in their funerals.

The Hispanic culture accepts death as part of life. It is the end of the life in the flesh, and a beginning of the life in spirit. Catholic Hispanics celebrate one’s death, because the soul is going “home” once the body has died. The funeral process doesn’t begin after death, but before one passes.

  • Whenever the situation allows, the funeral process begins on the death-bed. A priest will give the dying person their Last Rites, which consist of confession (if possible), communion and pastoral blessing.
  • A family member will stay with the body of the deceased until the preparations begin for the funeral services.
  • A traditional Hispanic Funeral will consist of 3-4 days of services and vigils to honor and pray for the departed soul.
  • A Catholic Priest will lead the services for the funeral. Starting with the wake.

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Traditional Asian Funeral Etiquette

July 16th, 2011

Asian Funeral with Alter

Funeral customs vary greatly in the Asian culture.  The following article refers mostly to traditional Chinese funeral customs.  

If you are attending an Asian Funeral, there are a few rules of etiquette that are very important to follow. The burial process of someone who has passed is taken very seriously in Chinese society. Asian culture teaches that someone who is buried without the proper funeral customs will bring bad luck and disaster to the family. Cremation among traditional Asians is very rare.

Asian culture uses beauty and respect throughout their funeral services. Every detail is covered and has special meaning behind it. The traditions they use have been passed from generation to generation to make the end-of-life transition more beautiful.

What To Expect When Attending An Asian Funeral

The funeral process and rites are based on how traditional the family is, as well as age, social status, and marital status.

Tradition teaches that an elder is not to show respect to someone who is younger. So, if the funeral is for a younger person, their body cannot be brought home (as is custom for an older person). This also goes for an infant or child. The services will be held at the funeral parlor, in a way similar to western funerals.  Since no respect can be shown, there are no vigils, prayers or offerings made, the service and burial will be made in silence.

Wake or Viewing at An Asian Funeral

Traditional Asian funerals will be held at the home of the deceased. If the death occurred inside the home, the casket and service will be held inside. If the death occurred outside of the home, the casket and service will be in a courtyard near the home. Wreaths, flowers and a picture of the deceased will sit on top of the coffin.

Traditional funerals last for 49 days, with the first 7 being the most important. However, if the family doesn’t have the financial means, the funeral will last 3-5 days with the first day being the most significant.
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What To Expect At A Funeral

July 10th, 2011

Funerals are always a difficult and emotional occasion. Many people get nervous or anxious when attending a funeral. There are some basic principles when it comes to one’s behavior and etiquette throughout the funeral process.

Condolence Visits

If you are a close friend or family member of the deceased, it is proper to pay a visit to the home of the family members before the funeral, to offer your help and share fond memories.

Before a Wake

A wake is a time when family and close friends come together before a funeral to spend time in remembrance of the deceased. Many people will offer to bring food, watch children, clean house or help with any of the planning.

Expressing Your Sympathy

Sending flowers to the church, funeral home or the family’s home is a well-known way of expressing your sympathy. When words can’t say it, flowers will show it.

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