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Memorial Day: We Remember Our Fallen Heroes

On the Eve of the Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of Summer, we at Cremation Society of America would like to take a moment to express our thanks to all who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our magnificent nation, the United States of America. As we spend time with family and friends during this uniquely American holiday, let’s keep in mind how Memorial Day came to be.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 will occur on Monday, May 31.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Origins of Memorial Day

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations was organized by a group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.

Waterloo—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried there.

Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor the dead on separate days until after World War I.

The Modern Memorial Day

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including World War II, The Vietnam War, The Korean War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Did You Know?

In the spring of 1915, bright red flowers began poking through the battle-ravaged land across northern France and Flanders (northern Belgium). Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, spotted a cluster of the poppies shortly after serving as a brigade surgeon during the bloody Second Battle of Ypres. The sight of the bright red flowers against the dreary backdrop of war inspired McCrae to pen the poem, “In Flanders Field,” in which he gives voice to the soldiers who had been killed in battle and lay buried beneath the poppy-covered grounds. Later that year, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael read the poem in Ladies’ Home Journal and wrote her own poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” to begin a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to all who died in war. The poppy remains a symbol of remembrance to this day.

We wish you and your family and friends a Happy and Solemn Memorial Day. Never forget.

Please Contact CSA for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services. CSA can also help you Pre-Plan all of your Direct Cremation services to meet your needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

Can the Family be Present at a Direct Cremation?

During these days of COVID, we at Cremation Society of America, are asked many questions regarding Direct Cremations. One of the more frequent questions is “Can I attend or witness the Direct Cremation of my loved one?” Many may envision themselves accompanying their loved one’s casket as it moves through the cremation process at the crematory.

The truth is that, regardless of COVID guidelines, you cannot be present during a Direct Cremation. Here is why:

Direct Cremation, as we’ve explained here, is a simpler, more “direct” alternative to traditional cremation services. Once you’ve chosen a Direct Cremation provider and confirmed the arrangements, your provider will take care of the rest. Your provider will collect your loved one from their place of passing and transport him/her to the crematorium, where your loved one will be prepared to receive a solemn and dignified Cremation. Once the Cremation is completed, your loved one’s ashes will be returned to you.

While some traditional funeral homes allow families to be present in the room during a loved one’s cremation, it is not possible to attend a Direct Cremation.

The Direct Cremation process and procedures do not support or accommodate family and loved ones witnessing the actual Cremation. One of the many advantages of a Direct Cremation is that families have nearly limitless options to arrange for a memorial at the place and time of their choosing. This allows for family and friends to honor your loved one when they might otherwise not be able to secure travel arrangements in time to attend a traditional funeral service.

Traditional funeral or memorial services arranged through funeral homes are at he mercy of the funeral home’s tight schedule and inflexible timetable. With Direct Cremation, you and your family can plan a memorial as soon after Cremation as you like—or be more deliberate and take your time to give distant relatives a chance to make travel arrangements in order to attend.

Even though you and your family cannot attend the Cremation itself, there are almost infinite ways to honor the memory of your loved one. Here are just a few examples:

  • Scatter Ashes on land (with permission from the appropriate local authorities), at Sea or from an airplane
  • Trenching on Your Property to place ashes inside a long, narrow hole dug int the ground in a favorite location
  • Inter your loved one’s ashes in a Columbarium or Mausoleum
  • Simply keep your loved one’s ashes in an urn or vessel in your home or office
  • Incorporate your loved one’s ashes into jewelry, art or even a tattoo

Cremation Society of America (“CSA”) is your trusted provider of Cremation services. Since we at CSA focus solely on Cremation – and leave funerals, burials and ceremonies to others – we can offer cost-effective Cremation services without sacrificing the dignity or solemnity of your love one.

We offer the most efficient online process in the industry as well as 24 x 7 Cremation Consultants who are ready to answer any and all questions during such a troubling time for your family.

Please Contact CSA for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services and our industry-leading identification protocols to provide you with peace of mind. CSA can also help you Pre-Plan all of your Direct Cremation services to meet your needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

You pay NO Sales Tax on Florida Direct Cremations

Did you know that purchasing a Direct Cremation from Cremation Society of America in the State of Florida is TAX FREE? Not only that but a Pre-Planned Direct Cremation is also TAX FREE!

Pursuant to Florida Sales Tax Rule 12A – 1.035, the services of Cremation Society of America, which is a licensed under Chapter 497 Florida Statutes, are not subject to sales tax. Direct Cremations are just one of the those services.

What does this mean for you?

This means that Direct Cremation, already the most affordable option, is even more affordable for our clients in the State of Florida.

We understand that there is rarely a convenient time to arrange for a Direct Cremation. However, we are confident that you will find our streamlined Cremation Online Ordering System easy to use and it will take little time to complete. Don’t forget that all Online Direct Cremation orders come with a 30-Day 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Our secure and intuitive Online Ordering System can be completed in just a few minutes and is easy to understand. Here are a few highlights of our Cremation Online Ordering System:

  • Choose either Direct Cremation for a loved one who has passed or Pre-Plan for a Cremation in the future
  • Enter your contact information
  • Choose from one of Three Packages
  • Select Medical Examiner Cremation Approval Fee, if applicable
  • Select Delivery Method
  • Order Death Certificate(s)
  • Choose from a selection of Cremation Jewelry and Celebration of Life Kit options, if desired
  • Enter Billing and Shipping Addresses
  • Enter payment information
  • Complete the Necessary Forms

Visit us at cremationsocietyofamerica.com/pre-planning/ to begin the simple process of pre-planning today. Cremation Simplified.

Explaining Cremation to a Child

As families deal with the challenging times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we find ourselves struggling to explain to children the aspects of the Pandemic such as quarantines, lockdowns and the inability to visit grandparents and other family members.

Another subject that may be difficult to address is the passing of a loved one and you are the parent, guardian or family friend of a child who is grieving the loss of the same loved one, be it a sibling, parent, grandparent, or other person close to the child. You are faced with the daunting task of not only coming to terms with your grief but also with helping the bereaved child come to terms with such a life-changing event.

In cases where your loved one is to be cremated (which is happening more and more in today’s society), you should take steps to explain what cremation is to the child in your care. Here are some helpful steps when seeking to comfort a child and to help with the healing process:

Understand Cremation

Believe it or not, many adults have never been taught what happens during cremation. The process of Cremation includes:

  • Cremation takes place at a building called a crematory or crematorium. Sometimes crematories are adjacent to funeral homes, but often they are stand-alone operations not affiliated with a specific funeral home. There are more than 1,000 crematories in the United States and Canada today
  • Within the Crematorium is a special stainless-steel vault called a cremation chamber, or retort. The body is placed in a sturdy cardboard container and the container is moved into the cremation chamber. The body may also be cremated in a casket. After the container or casket is placed in the chamber, the chamber door is tightly sealed and the licensed operator turns on the heat.
  • This process can take 2-4 hours, until such time as only calcium bone fragments remain
  • Upon completion of the cremation, the remains are collected in a metal tray. At this point, the remains are small pieces of bone. To further reduce them, the remains are placed in a processor and refined down to the consistency of coarse sand
  • The white or grayish remains (called ashes, cremated remains or cremains) are then sealed in a transparent plastic bag along with an identification tag. The bag weighs about 5 lbs. and is similar in size to a 5-lb. bag of sugar. Often the family requests that the cremated remains be placed in an urn, which can then be buried, placed in a columbarium (which is a special above-ground structure at a cemetery), taken home or transported for scattering.

Encourage Questions from the Child

Children are naturally curious about everything, including death but death is an uncomfortable subject for most adults because we all have suffered loss at some point in our lives. Such a discussion can unearth painful memories – and this is natural. However, you can be a resource for the child at a critical moment by being someone the child can turn to with death and cremation questions. Remember: Most young children assume that “grown-ups” have all of life’s answers. Encourage the child to ask you anything about the death and the funeral. Give the child honest answers – but in words and concepts that the child will understand.

Use Simple Explanations

Armed with your understanding of the cremation process, you need to plan which information to share with the child and how to share it. Take care to use words and concepts that the child can grasp and understand. This depends not only on the age of the child but on the child’s personality, developmental level and vocabulary. If your words and your tone convey command of the information and familiarity with the cremation process, the child will likely feel the same way.

Try to provide as much information as possible. Children have an amazing ability to cope with life-changing events. Don’t withhold facts in an attempt to spare a child what you consider to be disturbing details. Often, a child’s imagination can conjure up explanations much scarier than reality if the child is denied the facts. Be the compassionate adult who furthers the child’s understanding.

Her are some child-friendly answers to questions often asked about cremation:

  • Cremation has been used for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans built funeral pyres – stacks of wood with the loved one place atop. The wood was set afire and the body burned, too. Funeral pyres are still used in some countries today as a tribute to the deceased
  • Cremation doesn’t hurt. The person is dead, which means the body doesn’t work anymore. The body’s heart doesn’t beat, the body doesn’t breathe, the brain has stopped working and it doesn’t feel anything anymore.
  • There is no smell and no smoke when a body is cremated. The process is very, very hot—many times hotter than your oven at home or a campfire. The heat burns away all the parts of the body except for some pieces of bone.
  • After cremation, what’s left of the body looks like kitty litter or beach sand, although it’s white in color because it’s bone. It’s put in a clear plastic bag so you can see it if you want to.
  • When a body is buried in the ground in a grave, it breaks down after months and years and just a skeleton is left. Cremation is the same process except cremation makes this happen much faster.
  • The people involved in the cremation process handle the body with dignity and respect.

Some final thoughts: Where possible, include the child in the cremation and services planning. Let the child feel part of the process of honoring your loved one. Much like many of us want to feel useful and needed during times of stress, so do children. Also, simply being available to the child in the days, weeks and months after the cremation will make for a path to healing. Whether sharing funny stories or expressing how much you both miss your loved one, simply being “someone to talk to” goes a long way to providing a healthy grieving process.

Please contact CSA for more information regarding our Cremations services as well as family grieving resources. We look forward to being of service to you and your family during these unprecedented and challenging times.

A Time to Give Thanks

2020 has been a challenging year for us all. However, we at Cremation Society of America are deeply thankful for all of YOU who chose us to serve your cremation needs during these trying and uncertain times.

Throughout the coming week, family and friends will gather together on Thanksgiving, albeit under certain restrictions, to take stock of their blessings and to be thankful for so many things. We at Cremation Society of America would like to take a moment to express our thanks to YOU for the privilege to serve YOU. Without YOU, we would not be able to do what we love: provide respectful and dignified cremation services during a time of stress and sadness.

Thanks to your continued support, we’ve been able to expand our service area to nearly all of the State of Florida! Click HERE to learn more!

It may sound a bit cliché but we Americans are blessed by living in the greatest, most generous nation in the world. We should be thankful for all of the sacrifices of those who came before us so that we may be free. As we like to do this time of year, we’d like to give you a brief description of the origins of this truly American holiday:

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2019 occurs on Thursday, November 28. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.

The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September. After that first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists, Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Indians. In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating thanksgiving after the harvest.

During the American Revolution a yearly day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and by the middle of the 19th century many other states had done the same.

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November, which he may have correlated it with the November 21, 1621, anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod. Since then, each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941.)

We at Cremation Society of America would like to wish you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. We hope that you cherish these moments surrounded by family and friends in the spirit of joy and Thanksgiving. We look forward to a time in the very near future where we can once again gather without concern over the Pandemic.

How is Next of Kin Defined?

“Next of Kin”: What Does It Really Mean?

When you are faced with the loss of a loved one or if you are pre-planning cremation arrangements and/or a will, you will undoubtedly find the term “Next of Kin” used frequently. It sounds a bit “folksy” or old-fashioned but this is term that is still used throughout society, especially in the legal community.

Per Investopedia, Next of Kin “refers to a person’s closest living blood relative. The next-of-kin relationship is important in determining inheritance rights if a person dies without a will and has no spouse and/or children. The next of kin may also have responsibilities during and after their relative’s life. They might have to make medical decisions if the person becomes incapacitated or take responsibility for their funeral/burial arrangements and financial affairs after their relative dies.”

Who is Considered Next of Kin in Florida?

In State of Florida, Chapter 744 Title XLII (14), Next of Kin is defined as ““those persons who would be heirs at law of the ward or alleged incapacitated person if the person were deceased and includes the lineal descendants of the ward or alleged incapacitated person.”

Cremation Society of America is Here to Help

We at CSA realize that decision making in the aftermath of losing a loved on is stressful and difficult. We’re here to help. Visit our Home Page to download our FREE Cremation Planning Guide that will help you and your family ensure that the best decisions are being made and that nothing is missed. Of course, feel free to Contact Us with any questions.

What is a Direct Cremation?

“Direct Cremation”, sometimes called “Simple Cremation” or “Immediate Cremation” is when the cremation is performed soon after death, without a viewing, visitation or funeral service of any kind. Aspects of a Direct Cremation can include:

  • The body is cremated immediately after death. This enables you to engage directly with a crematory service provider such as Cremation Society of America, rather than a funeral home
  • The deceased is cremated in a simple vessel or container instead of an expensive casket
  • Since a Direct Cremation does not involve a visitation, wake or viewing prior to cremation, there is no need for embalming or other measures to preserve the deceased for extended periods
  • A Direct Cremation gives the family the flexibility to arrange for a memorial service – or multiple memorial services – at the date, time and locale of the family’s choosing, thereby avoiding the costs of a casket and funeral services. NOTE: If you choose to hold a service before the cremation, you would be engaging in a “traditional cremation” and not a Direct Cremation.

Oftentimes, people assume that the term “Direct Cremation” means the deceased is taken from the place of death directly to the crematory. This is not the case. Death Certificates, contracts and state required permits must all be completed before the cremation can actually take place or be scheduled, often several days later.

How to Arrange a Direct Cremation: In most cases, the crematory staff will be able to handle all aspects of the cremation, including completion of the death certificate and transporting the deceased to the crematory – all for a nominal fee.  Also, a crematory will often change a fraction of the price that a funeral home might charge for the same services.

Please keep in mind that, per to the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule (effective in 1984 and amended in 1994), you have the following rights when it comes to planning a direct cremation:

  • You are never required to use or purchase a casket for direct cremation
  • The funeral home or crematory you engage must make available to you an unfinished wood box or alternative container for the cremation
  • If you provide an urn or other keepsake vessel to the crematory, the crematory must return the cremated remains to you in the urn that you provided. Should you not provide an urn or vessel, the crematory must return the cremated remains to you in a container, which may be a cardboard box

Why Choose Cremation Society of America?

Cremation Society of America (“CSA”) is your trusted provider of Cremation services. Since we at CSA focus solely on Cremation – and leave funerals, burials and ceremonies to others – we can offer cost-effective Direct Cremation services without sacrificing the dignity or solemnity of your love one.

We offer the most efficient online process in the industry as well as 24 x 7 Cremation Consultants who are ready to answer any and all questions during such a troubling time for your family.

Please contact CSA for your Cremation pre-planning needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.