History Etched in Stone
Cemeteries and graveyards, often visited as parks and historic sites, are also places to honor and commemorate the dead, and to reflect on the past. With the growth in genealogy research, civil war and revolutionary war interests and an overall mission to reach a greater understanding of our roots, burial grounds have become a gold mine of otherwise lost and forgotten information. They are now seen as a collection of stones whose significance lay in recording genealogical data and denoting the final resting place of prominent individuals.
Looking at Gravestones thru an Archaeologist’s Lens
FREE VETERAN HEADSTONES
Note: There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself, however arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and all setting fees are at private expense.
Eligibility for a VA headstone or marker is the same as for burial in a national cemetery. VA cannot issue a headstone or marker for a spouse or dependent buried in a private cemetery. Twenty-year reservists without active-duty service are eligible for a headstone or grave marker, if they are entitled to military retired pay at the time of death. Who Can Apply Only the following individuals may apply for a headstone, marker or medallion:Decedent's next-of-kin (NOK)Authorized representative on behalf of decedentAuthorized representative on behalf of next-of-kinIf someone other than the NOK is applying for the headstone, marker or medallion, the application package must include a written statement signed by the NOK or decedent authorizing that person (the applicant) to apply for this benefit. A notarized statement is not required for these purposes.National, Post, or State Veterans' CemeteryA headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin.
Private CemeteryTo receive a headstone, marker, or medallion, the eligible applicant must submit a VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker or VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for Government Medallion to the VA along with proof of military service, to request a Government-provided headstone or marker. Do not send original documents, as they will not be returned.