Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

 Cremation Information

The cremation process and legal requirements for it vary state by state and city by city. Please check your local legal requirements to ensure the safe processing of your loved one.

There are different parts to the cremation process including transportation, storage, cremation itself, and the return of the remains. You have an opportunity to have a viewing prior to the cremation process, as well. You may also be able to witness the cremation.

To start, the body will be taken to the funeral home or straight to the crematory. Before the cremation occurs, the body will be stored and secured in cold storage.

Next up for the cremation process, you must select a container or casket in which to cremate your loved one.  Their body will be placed in the container and brought to the crematory.

Before the cremation, personal items (jewelry, watches, etc.) are removed from the container/casket and returned to you/the family. For safety reasons, many items are not allowed to be cremated with the body because not everything is combustible. These items could cause damage to the crematory or the operator.

urn for ashes

How Long Does It Take To Cremate a Body?

The cremation process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than two hours depending on the size of the body and how much heat has been stored in the cremator’s chamber. The cremation process occurs at 1600 degrees F. Once the cremation process is complete, the cremated remains are swept out of the cremator into a cooling tray and brought to a processor. The processor breaks down the bone fragments until they are 1/8” or smaller in size. The cremated remains are put into a plastic bag and placed into an urn or temporary container. Throughout this entire process, your loved one’s identification is checked numerous times. The cremated remains are placed with paperwork and stored until the family, comes to retrieve them.

Adult cremated remains weigh between four and six pounds.

Remains Transporting

If you plan to transport cremated remains, you may need different documents (death certificate, certificate of cremation, etc.) and the help of a funeral director to make this process possible.

If shipping cremated remains by United States Postal Service (USPS), you must use Priority Mail Express service and Priority Express Mail International.  USPS’ Label 139 indicating “Cremated Remains” is not required but it is encouraged to help USPS workers know this package should be handled with care.

Most airlines allow the transportation of cremated remains either as a carry-on, checked luggage or air cargo. Check with the airlines to learn their rules about transporting cremated remains; some airlines need notice if something needs to be placed in the air cargo. You must carry the death certificate, certificate of cremation and other documentation with you.

If transporting the cremated remains internationally, you will have to contact the Consulate(s) of the country you are taking the remains to or from. You will find the forms and authorizations required. Your funeral director will likely have to complete many of the forms. This process can take a few weeks.


Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Once a Soldier – The Voice of Veteran Families After a Soldier Suicide

Once a Soldier – The Voice of Veteran Families After a Soldier Suicide

Because Veteran Families Serve Just Like the Soldier

Since the beginning of the Stop Soldier Suicide era, the number 22 has been synonomous with the heartbreak and sadness. From our point of view, what happens after a veteran suicide doesn’t get enough attention. That’s why Once a Soldier was founded.

Veteran families of soldier suicide tells us that, after a suicide, that the actual suicide becomes the least of their problems. Money and the business of death become their enemy. 

The Silver Lining Project

Financial Aid Directly Applied to Their Funeral Expenses

Veterans who have fallen through the ever-widening gaps of the failing VA end up as Once a Soldier families. Many veterans transition to civilian life with very little bumps. Some try to live life with PTSD and it gets the best of them. Those are our families and their life is not easy. Neither is their death.

The chart below shows the average costs of a funeral. There’s a misconception that that VA pays for a veterans’ funeral costs. Not true. Our veteran families are living paycheck to paycheck and to suddenly pay thousands of dollars for a flight or for a funeral home is simply not possible.

Military Deaths and PTSD

PTSD is the Deadly Gift that Keeps on Giving

A traumtic incident can occur out of nowhere. Driving to the store for a coffee can end up with a tragic accident. PTSD can come with it. Family members can and do find their dead veterans. Imagine walking into the bathroom and seeing that. Of course it’s hard for anyone to forget and move on. We know that every member of our families deal with PTSD-related issues every minute of every day.

From the beginning of modern day warfare, PTSD packed along in every American war. Using different names such as “shell shock”, PTSD was only recognized as a distinct disorder in the 1980’s. In earlier wars such as World War II, 37% of soldiers who saw direct combat were discharged for psychiatric reasons and 24% of soldiers who saw direct combat in the Korean War were discharged for psychiatric reasons. That’s 1 out of 4 men, and for us, that’s 25% of their families, too. Veteran families of soldier suicide pay that same price.