What Are Veterans’ Headstones
Veteran’s headstones are markers that are placed on the graves of veterans to indicate their military service. These headstones are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at no charge to the applicant.
What Is This Program
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Headstone and Marker Program furnishes, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world.
Who Is Eligible for A Military Headstone
Any veteran who has been honorably discharged or separated from the military is eligible for a government-issued headstone or marker. This also includes veterans who die while on active duty, in training accidents, or because of diseases contracted during active military service. The spouse and minor children of a veteran may also be buried in a national cemetery with a government headstone or marker at no cost to the family.
Veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces and who do not have a headstone or marker at their gravesite are eligible for a military headstone or marker from the VA. This includes veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990. The VA will provide a free government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased veteran eligible for burial at a national cemetery. National Cemeteries administer Government headstones and markers for veterans who are buried in private or State-operated cemeteries that do not provide their monuments.
Why Should Veterans Get Their Military Headstones
- It would be a tribute to the veteran's service and recognition of their sacrifice.
- More information about an individual vet can be included on the headstone including rank, military unit, birth date/death date, mini picture, etc.
- The veteran is entitled to have a government headstone because they are federal employees upon retirement. They deserve the same respect that other retired federal employees get in after-life care. This is just another step towards appreciation for all veterans nationwide who sacrificed for our country.
How Can I Get a Free Military Headstone
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a free military headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased veteran, regardless of their date of death. This service is available to all veterans and their eligible family members.
To Apply for A Military Headstone Or Marker, You Will Need To Provide:
- The veteran's full name and branch of service
- The veteran's rank and dates of service
- The cemetery where the veteran is buried, or will be buried
- The name and address of the person applying for the headstone or marker
How much Does It Cost to Get a Military Grave Marker
A government-furnished military grave marker is provided at no cost to the family of an eligible deceased veteran, regardless of where in the world they are buried. The stone or marker contains pertinent information about the deceased service member, which includes their rank, branch of service, and any awards that they received.
Who Can Apply
- The next-of-kin is the only person who can apply for a veteran's headstone.
- Authorized representative on behalf of a deceased veteran or additional family member.
- Applicants designated by the next-of-kin are eligible to apply for a headstone or marker.
What Are Military Headstones Made Of
Military headstones are typically made of granite, though other materials such as marble, bronze, and limestone may also be used. On the front side of the stone, there will be engraved military emblems below which will be engraved with the inscription’s information. These meanings appear on the backside of these types of headstones as well, but they are faded out to make sure they do not take away from any engravings found on the front. These markers are designed to withstand the elements for many years and can be placed in any cemetery around the world.
Types of Markers
- Upright headstones - They can be made from marble or granite, and they usually stand 42 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 4 inches thick, with a total weight of 230 pounds.
- Flat bronze marker - Flat bronze markers are monuments or statues that are not designed to be put into the ground. The monument is laid out on the grass, dirt, or other surfaces where it is supposed to stand so that installation of an anchor bolt can be done without damaging the stonework. It is 24 inches long 12 inches wide with a 3/4-inch rise with anchor bolts, nuts, and washers for fastening to a base.
- Flat marble or granite - The 24 inch long and 12-inch-wide grave marker is made of granite or marble. It weighs approximately 130 pounds.
- Bronze niche - Veterans Bronze Niche Markers are small headstones that can be placed in Veterans Cemeteries. It is 8 1/2 inches long 5 1/2 inches wide with a 7/16-inch rise and weighs approximately 3 pounds.
- Medallions - The VA provides veterans with a medallion, by request, which can be affixed to an existing headstone or marker as proof of eligibility. For veterans who die after November 1st, 1990, and whose graves are marked with privately purchased headstones or markers this government-provided item can be used as an alternative. Each piece has the word "VETERAN" engraved on top, along with which branch they served in during wartime conflicts or peacekeeping missions overseas.
What Is the Difference Between a Grave Marker and A Headstone
A grave marker can be any object that identifies the site of burial. Usually, they are made of wood or metal, with an inscription identifying the name of the deceased. A headstone is one type of grave marker. It is usually placed at the head of a grave and may have information about the person buried there.
What Is Required
Requests must be submitted on VA Form 1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker, which can be obtained from your local cemetery office, funeral home director, online at https://www.va.gov/find-forms/, or call 1-800-827-1000 and ask that one be mailed to you.