A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is a gold-embossed paper certificate bearing the official signature of the President of the United States. It honors the memory of a deceased Veteran discharged under honorable conditions and expresses the country’s grateful recognition of their service in the Armed Forces. Eligible recipients include the deceased Veteran's next of kin, relatives and friends, or an authorized service representative acting on their behalf. A copy of the deceased Veteran's military discharge document along with a copy of the death certificate must be provided when requesting a PMC. Eligible recipients may request a PMC in person at any VA Regional Office, by U.S. mail or by toll-free fax.
VA Form 40-0247 Application for Presidential Memorial Certificate
May is National Preservation Month, a celebration of the nation's historic places. NCA manages many properties, including 79 Civil War-era national cemeteries, which are an enduring part of this national heritage. Over the last five years, the NCA History Program has engaged in partnerships with the National Park Service (NPS) to help preserve some of the oldest and most significant cemetery buildings and structures.
NCA's most iconic building type is the first permanent superintendent's lodge, constructed of stone or brick from ca. 1871-1881. At least 43 of these Second Empire-style lodges were built nationwide on what are now NCA properties, but only 18 survive, including in Keokuk National Cemetery (above, left). The design, credited to the U.S. Army Office of the Quartermaster General, incorporates an office for the cemetery superintendent along with residential rooms for his family. Construction of lodges continued until 1950 in architectural styles that echoed popular designs such as Folk Victorian, Dutch Colonial and Georgian Revival. NCA maintains a total of 55 superintendents' lodges today, all located in cemeteries listed on — or are eligible for listing on — the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2012, NCA undertook two projects to help preserve its lodges by taking measures to prevent building deterioration. NCA and NPS's Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) partnered to "mothball" up to 13 historic lodges over four years-including six of the Second Empire design. This grew out of a 2008-2011 project in which HPTC produced Historic Structure Assessment Reports containing technical preservation recommendations for 42 NCA lodges and related buildings. NCA also partnered with NPS's Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) to document 56 buildings and 37 rostrums-raised speakers' platforms once central to Memorial Day events. Written-history reports of each building and measured drawings of representative building types, such as Finn's Point National Cemetery lodge (above, right) capture essential architectural information.
Collectively, documentation of the history and physical condition of NCA's lodges, rostrums and other historic resources is used to preserve them as well as educate visitors and employees about their significance. Like other federal agencies, NCA's stewardship of its oldest resources is guided by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. Preservation of NCA's oldest historic resources assures that national cemeteries are commemorative shrines that honor their nineteenth-century origins today and into the future.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) awarded NCA's Fort Bliss National Cemetery with an environmental award for water conservation at its Texas Environmental Excellence Awards banquet held May 1 in Austin, Texas. The statewide honor recognizes 10 projects that demonstrate positive effects on air, water and land resources.
TCEQ's water conservation award recognizes Fort Bliss National Cemetery for its project to convert from unsustainable turf grass to native and drought-tolerant landscaping. The effort has led to an estimated savings of $400,000 each year in water, energy, and maintenance costs. The cemetery has dropped water usage by 90 percent and energy use by 47 percent through reduced pumping, surpassing the mandate for federal agencies to cut back water use 26 percent by 2020 and energy use 30 percent by 2015.
Shown in the photograph, left to right: TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker; NCA Memorial Network Service III Executive Director, Johnathan Reiker; TCEQ Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D.; Fort Bliss National Cemetery Director Andrew Matthews; VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve L. Muro; and TCEQ Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein..
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.