To schedule a burial: Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
Military Funeral Honors
Military funeral honors for veterans and service members are provided by the Department of Defense at no cost to the family. The funeral director will contact the appropriate Military Service or an authorized provider such as a Veterans Service Organization to arrange for the funeral honors detail. Several Veterans Service Organizations have established ceremonial teams which regularly provide military funeral honors at Houston National Cemetery. Please contact your funeral director or call Houston National Cemetery for more information.
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The Houston Veterans Administration Cemetery was dedicated Dec. 7, 1965. It was the only government cemetery constructed in the United States during the 1960s.
The present-day Houston National Cemetery was the largest of its kind at the time of construction. Designed entirely by VA staff, it was also the only new VA cemetery not located on the grounds of a VA hospital. Prior to Houston’s opening, the last VA cemetery established was at Eagle Point VA Medical Center, Ore., in 1952. The largest VA cemeteries at the time were in Los Angeles at 114.47 acres, and Leavenworth, Kan., at 113.15 acres. At 419.2 acres, the Houston facility was slightly smaller than the 450 acres or so of Arlington National Cemetery, to which it was compared.
Houston became a national cemetery in 1973 after the passage of the National Cemetery Act.
Monuments and Memorials
The Hemicycle at Houston National Cemetery is its largest memorial and the most visible structure on the landscape. It is the only NCA-managed hemicycle memorial and is one of only three known hemicycles located in national cemeteries. The others are located at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., operated by the U.S. Army, and at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, operated by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
At the keystone, or center, of the hemicycle are the chapel, carillon and speaker’s stand. David Parsons, a professor of art at Rice University, sculpted a 20’ x 6’ bas relief of three interlocking forms—a fallen soldier supported by two comrades. The sculpture, made of crushed quartz, was installed at the chapel entrance in 1965. The 75-foot tower, 305-bell, Schulmerich “Americana” carillon was dedicated May 30, 1970.
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Medal of Honor Recipients
First Lieutenant Raymond L. Knight, (World War II), U.S. Army Air Corps. Northern Po Valley, Italy, on April 25, 1945. His remains were relocated to Houston National Cemetery on April 25, 1992 (Section H-B 11).
Staff Sergeant Marcario Garcia, (World War II), U.S. Army, Company B, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Grosshau, Germany, Nov. 27, 1944 (Section H-A 1).
Captain James H. Fields, (World War II), U.S. Army, 10th Armored Infantry, 4th Armored Division. Near Rechicourt, France, Sept. 27, 1944 (Section H-B 6).
First Sergeant David H. McNerney, (Vietnam), U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Polei Doc, Republic of Vietnam, March 22, 1967 (Section H-A 4).
The most renowned veteran buried in the cemetery is the late Honorable Albert Thomas, United States Congressman from Texas. Congressman Thomas served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I, and served almost 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was instrumental in getting this cemetery established by Congress. "Congressman Albert," as his many friends knew him, died in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15, 1966, and was buried in the mall area of the Houston National Cemetery, on Feb. 18, 1966.
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Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Natural cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing. Flowers will be picked up on the first Thursday of each month
Artificial flowers and potted plants will be permitted on graves during periods when their presence will not interfere with grounds maintenance. As a general rule, artificial flowers and potted plants will be allowed on graves for a period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from Dec. 15 through Jan. 20. They may not be secured to headstones or markers.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on the graves. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.
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VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors. Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.