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Wreaths lay on headstones in a national cemetery, Wreaths Across America 2016

Wreaths Across America

VA National Cemeteries will host Wreaths Across America, a holiday wreath-laying ceremony to honor and remember our nation's Veterans. Veterans service organizations, community groups and citizens are coordinating the event to honor Veterans of each branch of the military, the Merchant Marines as well as Prisoners of War and those still Missing in Action (POW/MIA).

The Worcester Wreath Company, through a campaign called Wreaths Across America, began donating holiday wreaths in tribute to Veterans laid to rest at VA's national cemeteries and state Veterans cemeteries in 2006. Since 1992, they have donated wreaths for gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery.

Click here for a complete listing of Wreaths Across America events at VA national cemeteries.

 

VA provides a burial flag to next-of-kin of deceased eligible Veterans.

A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a Veteran's military service to his or her country. VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for each other than dishonorably discharged:

  • Veteran who served during wartime
  • Veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
  • Veteran who served after January 31, 1955
  • peacetime Veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
  • certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S. Armed forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
  • certain former members of the Selected Reserves

Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, families of Veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays.

You may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. You may get a flag at any VA regional office or most U.S. Post Offices. Generally, the funeral director will help you obtain the flag.

 

U.S. Coast Guardsmen participate in a Missing In America Project ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery in Triangle, Virginia, June 2013.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works with Veteran service groups, funeral industry partners, public administrators and other concerned citizens to ensure the dignified burial of unclaimed Veterans. "Unclaimed Veterans" are defined as those who die with no next of kin to claim their remains and insufficient funds to cover burial expenses.

In addition to burial benefits already provided for deceased, "Unclaimed Veterans," VA will reimburse for the purchase of a casket or urn used to inter these Veterans in a VA national cemetery. VA will also process retroactive reimbursements in accordance with applicable regulations.

 

The medallion is available in three sizes: Large, Medium and Small.

VA offers an application form specific to the medallion. The form is labeled 40-1330M and can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330M.pdf.

The medallion is furnished in lieu of a traditional government headstone or grave marker to those Veterans whose death occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. The medallion is available in three sizes: Large (6-3/8"W x 4-3/4"H x 1/2"D), Medium (3-3/4"W x 2-7/8"H x 1/4"D) and Small (2"W x 1-1/2"H x 1/3"D). Each medallion is inscribed with the word "VETERAN" across the top and the branch of service at the bottom. Once a claim for a medallion is received and approved, VA will mail the medallion along with a kit that will allow the family or the staff of a private cemetery to affix the device to a headstone, grave marker, mausoleum or columbarium niche cover.

 

Sample of Presidential Memorial Certificate.

The Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the PMC program by preparing the certificates which bear the current President's signature expressing the country's grateful recognition of the Veteran's service in the United States Armed Forces. Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. More than one certificate may be provided.

Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may apply for a PMC in person at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail or toll-free fax. Requests cannot be sent via email. Please be sure to enclose a copy of the Veteran's discharge and death certificate to verify eligibility, as we cannot process any request without proof of honorable military service. Please submit copies only, as we will not return original documents.

To order the PMC use VA Form 40-0247. Click here.