Cheryl Ites with the Department of Defense had a booth at the ICCFA expo to help educate funeral directors on the free services to which veterans are entitled. U.S. veterans may not realize the range of funeral and burial benefits they get as thanks for their service.
- Burial or interment of cremated remains in a national cemetery with one spouse, and depending on individual situations, minor children;
- A memorial marker in the national cemetery, or a marker provided for burial in non-military cemeteries;
- Military honors at the funeral/memorial service, including an honor guard from the veteran’s branch of service, an American flag, and the playing of Taps;
- Veterans buried in a private cemetery without a military marker can still get their military service recognized with a medallion on the existing headstone, crypt or niche cover .
To access these honors, the veteran needs their DD-214 form, indicating service and discharge status. If that piece of paper has gotten lost over the years, not to worry. The U.S. Archives will track it down and provide it to the veteran for free. This is discussed in the video below.
More details about the medallion program are available at this blog post: Little-Known Veteran Benefits. More information is available from this page provided by the National Cemetery Administration of the Veterans Administration.