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Government headstones and markers FAQs

Get answers to specific questions you may have about government headstones and markers. 

Can I choose the type of headstone or marker?

Yes. You’ll choose either a headstone or marker and the material you’d like it to be made of. You’ll make your choice by selecting one of the boxes in block 15 of the Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker (VA Form 40-1330).
Get VA Form 40-1330 to download

You can request any of these:

  • Upright headstones, in granite or marble
  • Flat markers, in granite, marble, or bronze
  • Niche markers, in bronze

Check our headstones and markers

Note: For burial in a private cemetery, check with officials at the specific cemetery to make sure they allow the style you want.
Learn more about burial in a private cemetery

What information goes on the headstone or marker, and who provides it?

All headstones and markers must include:

  • The person’s legal name
  • The Veteran’s service branch
  • The beginning and ending years of the person’s life
  • The section and grave number (if in a state or national cemetery)

You can also choose to inscribe:

  • The full beginning and ending dates of the person’s life
  • The highest rank the Veteran attained
  • The Veteran’s awards and war service
  • An emblem of belief

We may approve other requests, such as:

  • Nicknames
  • Terms of endearment (like “Loving Father”)
  • Special unit identification

The person’s next of kin, or an authorized representative (like a funeral home director) must provide this information to cemetery officials at a national cemetery, state Veterans cemetery, military post cemetery, or military base cemetery. These officials will order the headstone or marker for you.

When will the headstone or marker I requested arrive, and who sets it?

For national or state cemeteries, please contact the cemetery directly to find out when the headstone or marker will arrive.

Cemetery staff in national, military post, and military base cemeteries are responsible for setting the headstone or marker at no cost to you. Some state Veterans cemeteries may charge you a small fee for setting a government headstone or marker.

Does VA provide a headstone or marker if remains aren’t available?

We provide memorial headstones and markers for:

  • Eligible deceased active-duty service members and qualified Veterans when their remains are missing, not identified, donated to science, buried at sea, or scattered, and
  • Eligible spouses and other dependents whose remains are not available, whether or not they pass away before the eligible Veteran

Note: For spouses and other dependents, this benefit is for burial only in national, military post, military base, or state Veterans cemeteries, not private cemeteries.

The words engraved on the memorial item must begin, “IN MEMORY OF.”

Can 2 Veterans who are married get separate headstones?

Yes. All Veterans are eligible for their own headstone and gravesite.

Spouses can be buried in:

  • Side-by-side graves with separate headstones, or
  • The same gravesite with inscriptions on a shared headstone

What do I need to know about applying for a plaque or urn?

When you choose to get a plaque or urn for a Veteran, they will no longer be eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery. And we won’t be able to provide a government headstone, marker, or medallion for the Veteran after you’ve received a plaque or urn.

The plaque or urn is your property once you receive it.

VA benefits

  • Burials and memorials

    Get help planning a burial in a VA national cemetery, order a headstone or other memorial item to honor a Veteran's service, and apply for survivor and dependent benefits.

Need more help?

MyVA411 main information line: 800-698-2411