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VA National Cemeteries

Definition

VA National Cemeteries refer to the network of cemeteries in the United States maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These cemeteries serve as the final resting place for eligible veterans and their family members. They provide burial services, headstones, markers, and memorialization for those who have honorably served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Key Takeaways

  1. Eligible veterans, their spouses, and dependents can be buried in VA National Cemeteries, which provide a dignified and respectful final resting place for those who have served their country.
  2. VA National Cemeteries are maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and offer a variety of burial options, including in-ground burials, columbarium niches for cremated remains, and scatter gardens.
  3. There is no cost for burial services in a VA National Cemetery for eligible veterans, including the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, a government-furnished headstone or marker, a United States burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate.

Importance

The term VA National Cemeteries is important because it refers to the federally maintained burial grounds reserved for eligible veterans and their family members as part of the comprehensive benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These national cemeteries serve as a lasting tribute and symbol of the nation’s recognition and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families in the defense of freedom.

The VA ensures that the national cemeteries are maintained in a dignified and respectful manner, so they remain a fitting final resting place for those who have valiantly served their country.

In addition to providing burial services, the VA National Cemeteries also offer support and assistance to grieving families during their time of need, making the term both a symbol of honor and a practical source of compassion and closure.

Explanation

The VA National Cemeteries are an integral part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) mission to honor and support deceased veterans and their families. These cemeteries serve as the final resting place for our nation’s heroes, providing a solemn and dignified setting for loved ones to pay their respects.

The purpose of VA National Cemeteries is to offer a lasting tribute to the brave men and women who have served in the United States armed forces, ensuring they are not forgotten and are honored for their service to the nation. Amid the meticulously maintained landscapes, VA National Cemeteries offer various interment options for eligible veterans and their family members, including burial, inurnment, and memorialization.

In addition to providing burial space, the VA furnishes markers, headstones, or niche covers to commemorate those interred within their grounds, along with other services such as the provision of American flags and Presidential Memorial Certificates. These services reinforce the importance of acknowledging and remembering the sacrifices made by those who have served the United States, while also providing comfort and support to the surviving families as they navigate the grieving process.

Examples of VA National Cemeteries

Arlington National Cemetery (Virginia): Arlington National Cemetery is the most famous VA National Cemetery in the United States. It was established during the Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, once the estate of the family of General Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee. The cemetery serves as the final resting place for many U.S. veterans, active-duty service members, and their families. It is estimated that around 400,000 people are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, and the cemetery conducts over 7,000 funerals each year.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (California): Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is a historic and scenic VA National Cemetery located in San Diego, California. Established in the 1880s on the grounds of Fort Rosecrans, it overlooks the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. The cemetery has been closed to casketed burials since 1966, but cremation inurnments are still performed. Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is the final resting place for many Medal of Honor recipients, veterans, and other military personnel.

Calverton National Cemetery (New York): Calverton National Cemetery, located in Long Island, New York, is one of the largest VA National Cemeteries in the United States. Established in 1978 on land that was once a military weapons storage facility, the cemetery covers over 1,000 acres and has provided burial services to more than 200,000 veterans and their eligible family members. The cemetery serves as a place for families to honor and remember their loved ones, with various monuments and memorials throughout the cemetery grounds.

FAQs: VA National Cemeteries

1. Who is eligible for burial in a VA National Cemetery?

Eligibility for burial in a VA National Cemetery is based on the veteran’s military service. Generally, any member of the U.S. Armed Forces who dies while on active duty, any veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, or any veteran with a service-connected disability is eligible.

2. How can I locate a VA National Cemetery?

You can find VA National Cemeteries by visiting the National Cemetery Administration’s website and using their cemetery locator tool. You can also call the VA at 1-800-697-6947 for assistance in locating a cemetery near you.

3. Can spouses and dependents be buried in a VA National Cemetery?

Yes, spouses and dependents of eligible veterans may also be buried in a VA National Cemetery. Eligible spouses and dependents are buried at no cost, and their graves are near the veteran’s, if space allows.

4. Are there fees for burial in a VA National Cemetery?

No, there are no fees for burial in a VA National Cemetery. The VA covers the cost of the burial plot, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a presidential memorial certificate.

5. How do I schedule a burial in a VA National Cemetery?

To schedule a burial in a VA National Cemetery, you will need to complete the Application for Burial Benefits (VA Form 21P-530) and submit it to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office. You can apply online, by mail, or by fax. It is recommended that you start the process as soon as possible after the veteran’s death.

6. Can a veteran’s remains be disinterred and reburied in a VA National Cemetery?

Yes, a veteran’s remains may be disinterred and reburied in a VA National Cemetery, provided the veteran meets the eligibility requirements. There may be costs associated with disinterment and transportation, but the VA will cover the burial costs at the national cemetery.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Gravesite Maintenance
  • Burial Honors
  • Memorial Headstones and Markers
  • Presidential Memorial Certificates
  • Survivors and Dependents Benefits

Sources for More Information