“Jaws” the alligator pictured here likes to visit South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth and takes advantage of the lakes on the property. He’s one of several that visit our Veterans along with other wildlife. The cemetery is next to the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and tends to get these unusual guests from time to time.
The National Cemetery Administration aims to be good stewards of the environment and our cemeteries are designed to fit into the surrounding landscape. We are also careful to preserve the area’s natural vegetation and native animals when building national cemeteries. Sometimes we have to be creative with our water needs and use water-wise landscaping to conserve water, use electric utility vehicles to lessen our power needs, or use solar panels to produce our own energy.
We are always looking for new ways to conserve resources while continuing to honor Veterans with cemeteries befitting of their service. And we welcome all of our guests, even those who were there before us.
Members of the National Cemetery Administration reached out to Veterans and their families in Florida at events over the past three months. They took the Mobile Outreach Vehicle on a tour of Florida, to tell the NCA story. Representatives attended the South Florida and Florida State Fairs and partnered with the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates to reach Veterans and community members who may have an interest in learning more about VA Memorial Benefits. Staff and volunteers representing South Florida, Cape Canaveral, Bay Pines, Tallahassee, and Florida National Cemeteries helped to support the events along with VA Central Office staff.
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.
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.