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Burial and Memorials

Benefit Category: Federal

Headstones, Markers, and Medallions

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.

For eligible Veterans that died on or after Nov. 1, 1990, VA may also provide a headstone or marker for graves that are already marked with a private headstone or marker. When the grave is already marked, applicants will have the option to submit a claim for either a traditional headstone or marker, or a new medallion (available by April 30, 2010).

Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.

When burial or memorialization is in a national cemetery, state Veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized representative.

Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national cemetery, state Veteran's cemetery, or military post/base cemetery. However, if requested on the application, space may be reserved below the veteran’s inscription so that the non-veteran's information can be inscribed later by private arrangement at private expense. Or, if requested on the application, the non-veteran dependent's name and date of birth can be included as an additional inscription at Government expense and the date of death may be added later at private expense.

Note: There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself, however arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and all setting fees are at private expense.

Inscriptions: Government-furnished headstones and markers must be inscribed with the legal name of the deceased, branch of service, and the year of birth and death, in this order. Memorial markers must also include "In Memory Of" at the top. If space is available, the inscription may also contain any or all of the following: veteran's rank, war service, military decorations, awards, and month and day of birth and death. All of these items must be inscribed in English.

Burial in a National Cemetery

Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of our 130 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.

Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the veteran.

Burial in North Dakota State Cemetery

The North Dakota Veterans Cemetery was established by an act of the 1989 Legislative Assembly. This cemetery is located on a 35 acre tract of land in the southwest corner of Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, south of Mandan ND.

Dedicated to the men and women who have served this State and Nation with unequaled distinction and honor. The State of North Dakota, in tribute to the devotion shown by our veterans in defense of the ideals and values we hold so precious, honors them by providing a location where they may find eternal peace in a setting rich with military history and quiet dignity.

Burial in a Private Cemetery

Burial benefits available for veterans buried in a private cemetery include a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. There are no benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.

Presidential Memorial Certificates

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

Eligibility: Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. More than one certificate may be provided.  Presidential Memorial Certificate Request form 40-0247 (pdf)

Funeral Honors NDNG and Funeral Honors DoD

Provide professional Military Funeral Honors to eligible veterans when requested by an authorized family member.

The Rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the nation's deep gratitude to those who have faithfully defended our country in time of war and peace. The ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration that a grateful nation can provide to a veteran's family.

What is Military Funeral Honors?

Military Funeral Honors have always been provided whenever possible. However, the law now mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family. As provided by law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps. Taps will be played by a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps. Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by electronic recording.

Who is Eligible for Military Funeral Honors

  • Military members on Active Duty or in the Selected Reserve.
  • Former military members who served on Active Duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

How do I Coordinate Military Funeral Honors?

Family members of the deceased veteran should first notify their funeral director of their desire to have Military Funeral Honors rendered. There is no cost to the veteran's family to have Military Funeral Honors provided by the ND National Guard, DoD, or your local Veterans Organization. The family should provide the funeral director with the following information, if available: Name of deceased, date of birth, social security number, form DD 214 discharge (Request copy of discharge), or any other proof of veteran status or eligibility for burial.

Burial Flags

Why Does VA Provide a Burial Flag?

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 dishonorable 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 National Guard and Selected Reserves
    • Served under USA title 10 or...
    • Completed initial obligation (one enlistment contract) or...
    • Were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty or...
    • Died while a member of the Selected Reserve or National Guard or...
    • At the time of death would have been eligible for retirement at age 60

Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?

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.

How Can You Apply?

Burial Allowances (pdf)

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot or interment allowance.

News about Burial and Memorials

This Veterans Day holds special significance for Native Americans. The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is slated to open the National Native American Veterans Memorial, Wednesday November 11, 2020. The opening will take place online and will “be marked with a short virtual message to honor the service and sacrifice of Native veterans and their families,” states the most recent NMAI press release.

Discharge Requests

Most Veteran’s benefits require that applicants provide a copy of their Form DD 214 or discharge record, which is evidence of their veteran status. This is an important document and must be safeguarded. In the State of North Dakota separation documents are considered confidential and privileged NDCC 37-18-11. National Guard members will receive an NGB22 and/or NGB23 upon separation. 


These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the ND Department of Veterans Affairs of any of the products, services, or opinions of the corporation, organization, or individual. The ND Department of Veterans Affairs bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.