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Veterans Grave Markers

How to Obtain a Free Grave Marker

Unfortunately, most of the graves of soldiers who died during our wars are forgotten and unmarked. It is sad that many families can't afford to place a headstone on the final resting places of veterans who survived our wars and returned to the United States to live until their natural end.

Free veteran grave markers for most of the unmarked graves of any American veteran can be ordered from the U.S. Veterans Administration. They are available in a variety of types and are made of either granite, marble or bronze. Any person can order a memorial marker for the veteran. It is not necessary to be a descendant or relative.

To obtain an Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker, write to the following address:

Monument Service
Department of Memorial Affairs
Veterans Administration
941 N. Capitol St., N.E.
Room 9320
Washington, D.C. 20420

or click on the following links




To download this form you will need Adobe Acrobat

VA Grave Marker Form


Upon receipt of the application, complete it as directed and take the filled out form on how you wish the marker to read to the cemetery, they need to agree to accept delivery of the marker, a cemetery official has to sign the form. The cemetery will return it to the Veterans Administration for you normally.

Please also note: Even though the veteran's grave marker is free, you will most probably have to pay a setting, care and or foundation fee to have it erected or placed on your loved ones burial space within the cemetery.

Be forewarned; your application may take as long as two years to be processed.The marble or granite stones are very heavy, we recommend as well as the V.A. that you have the veteran's memorial marker sent directly to the cemetery. Upon receipt of the veteran's burial marker at the cemetery, it will normally take them one to two weeks to place the veteran's marker on your loved ones grave space.


Check with the Cemetery to see if a V.A. Grave Marker is permissible in the area where your loved one is laid to rest. Also most Cemeteries will want the property owner of record to give permission to place the veteran's grave marker on the veteran's burial space.


Samples of Veteran Markers


    Most cemeteries do not allow the upright headstones due to the extra required ground maintenance that is needed.

    These headstones are 42 inches long, 13 inches wide and 4 inches thick. Weight is approximately 230 pounds. Variations may occur in stone color, and the marble may contain light to moderate veining.


    Upright Marble

    Sample upright marble marker

    Upright Granite

    Sample upright granite marker


    In some cemeteries a concrete border may be required, to extend the size of the marker to make it uniform in size to the surrounding markers, this is known as a restricted area.

    The flat bronze grave marker is 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, with 3/4 inch rise. Weight is approximately 18 pounds. Anchor bolts, nuts and washers for fastening to a base are furnished with the marker. The government does not furnish a base.

    The flat granite and flat marble grave marker is 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 4 inches thick. Weight is approximately 130 pounds. Variations may occur in stone color; the marble may contain light to moderate veining. (Shown is the Flat Granite)



    Sample flat bronze grave marker

    Flat Granite or Flat Marble

    Sample flat granite grave marker



Sen. Dodd Introduces VA Marker Bill for Private Cemeteries

Last week, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) introduced S. 909 to expand on legislation enacted in 2002 whereby veterans who were interred in private cemeteries where the grave was already marked could receive a government-issued marker for placement as a second marker on the grave. The 2002 law, the Veterans Improvement Act, established this burial benefit as a five-year pilot program and applied only to veterans who died on or after September 11, 2001. This new benefit met with a mixed reaction from private cemeteries because not all permit a second marker on the grave site. S. 909 would extend the second marker benefit back to 1990 when it had been abolished by Congress.

Dodd stated, "Until 1990, moreover, the family of a deceased veteran could receive reimbursement for a VA headstone, a VA marker or a private headstone. However, in the name of cost-cutting, measures were taken to prevent the VA from providing markers to those families that had purchased gravestones out of their own pockets. In my view, this measure was a serious injustice." Despite Dodd's reference to the repealed marker cash reimbursement, his legislation does not address the restoration of this benefit. However, Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Steve Miller (R-FL) have stated that they will introduce legislation to restore both the plot and the marker cash allowances as they applied to private cemeteries.

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