Veterans Day is a special time for Americans to reflect on the contributions of the nearly 22 million men and women who brought freedom to so many. For Veterans Day 2014 and every day at the VA, we salute our Veterans and extend gratitude for their service. These public ceremonies at VA national cemeteries across the country are opportunities to say “thank you” to service members past and present, our nation’s Veterans. View the list of scheduled ceremonies.
On October 1, 2014, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published, in the Federal Register, a proposed rule to amend the existing definition of eligible applicants by expanding the types of individuals who may request headstones or markers on behalf of decedents. The amendment addresses concerns that the existing applicant definition is too restrictive and results in identified Veteran gravesites going unmarked.
Because VA shares the public’s desire to appropriately recognize the service of our Veterans, VA worked on these revisions to the definition to allow more individuals to apply for headstones or markers, including memorial headstones or markers. VA is seeking input from Veterans, family members and other stakeholders regarding a proposed change to its definition of who may apply for a headstone or marker. Those wishing to review and comment on the proposed changes are encouraged to do so by searching for “National Cemetery Administration” or “2900-AO95” at www.regulations.gov. Comments must be received on or before December 1, 2014.
For the fifth time since 2001, NCA has received the highest rating in customer satisfaction for any federal agency or private corporation surveyed, according to a prestigious, independent survey of customer satisfaction.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is the only uniform, national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction with the quality of goods and services available in the United States. In 1999, the federal government selected ACSI to be a standard metric for measuring citizen satisfaction. More than 100 Federal government agencies have used ACSI to measure citizen satisfaction with more than 200 services and programs. The Index was founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is produced by ACSI, LLC.
NCA participates in the ACSI every three years, previously in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010. Each time it has participated, NCA has received the top rating in the nation. For 2013, NCA achieved a customer satisfaction index of 96, 28 points above the average for federal government agencies and well above such companies as Coca-Cola, Apple Computers and the H.J. Heinz Co.
NCA created a webpage to enable funeral directors to quickly find the most pertinent information to help families plan burials and apply for VA memorial benefits. It provides information about eligibility, benefits and services, VA forms, and features four videos on casket and cremain services offered with and without military funeral honors. The videos are narrated in English and Spanish and show what a family can expect on the day of their loved-one's funeral at a VA national cemetery.
There are also quick links to download VA forms for ordering headstones and markers, the bronze medallion, the Presidential Memorial Certificate, and other benefits.