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Headstones, Markers, Niche Covers, and Medallions

To honor the military service of a deceased Veteran, we may provide a headstone, marker, or niche cover to identify the burial place in a federal, Department of Defense, or state Veterans cemetery. We may also provide a headstone, marker, or medallion (to attach to a privately purchased headstone or marker) for Veterans buried in private or public cemeteries. Family members may also qualify for a marker if they’re buried in a state Veterans cemetery, national cemetery, or cemetery at a military post or base. Find out how to arrange for one of these memorial items.

Who can be honored with a headstone, marker, or niche cover?

  • Any Veteran who died on or after November 1, 1990
  • Any Veteran buried in an unmarked grave who served before September 7, 1980
  • Any Veteran buried in an unmarked grave who served for 24 months or longer, or who died while on active duty (including training) after September 7, 1980
  • An eligible spouse or other family member buried in a national cemetery, state/tribal Veterans cemetery, military post cemetery, or military base cemetery

Who can be honored with a medallion?

  • Any Veteran who died before November 1, 1990
  • Any Veteran who served on or after April 6, 1917
  • Any Veteran whose grave is privately marked

Can I apply for one of these memorial items?

You can apply for this benefit if you’re representing the deceased Veteran in any of the below relationships or professional roles.

One of these must describe your relationship or role:

  • A family member of the deceased Veteran, or
  • A personal representative (someone who officially represents the deceased), or
  • A representative of an accredited Veterans Service Organization, or
  • An employee of a state or local government whose official responsibilities include serving Veterans, or
  • Any person who is legally responsible for making arrangements for unclaimed remains or for details having to do with the deceased’s interment or memorialization, or
  • Any individual representing the deceased, if their service ended before April 6, 1917

Note: For memorial headstones and markers that honor the memory of the deceased, the person who applies must be a member of the deceased’s family.

How do I apply for a memorial item?

For a headstone, marker, or niche cover, fill out the Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker (VA Form 40-1330).
Download VA Form 40-1330.

For a medallion to be placed on a privately purchased headstone or marker, fill out the Claim for Government Medallion for Placement in a Private Cemetery (VA Form 40-1330M).
Download VA Form 40-1330M.

  • Make a copy of the Veteran’s discharge documents. Don’t send the originals, because we can’t return them.

  • Fax the documents to 1-800-455-7143. Or, mail the discharge papers and the form to this address:

Memorial Products Service (41B)
Department of Veteran Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903

What information goes on the headstone or marker?

You must put a legal name, service branch, and birth and death year on a headstone or marker. State and national cemeteries also require the section and grave number. You can choose to inscribe the deceased’s full birth and death dates, the highest rank attained, awards, war service, and an emblem of belief. We may approve other requests, such as nicknames, terms of endearment (for example, “Loving Father”), or special unit identification.

Special arrangements

We provide memorial headstones and markers for qualified Veterans when their remains are missing, not identified, donated to science, buried at sea, or scattered.

For Veterans, dependents, and Servicemembers who qualify for a memorial headstone or marker, the words engraved on the memorial item must begin, “IN MEMORY OF,” and the headstone or marker must be placed in a national cemetery, state Veterans cemetery, or military base cemetery.

Get help applying for a headstone, marker, niche cover, or medallion by calling 1-800-697-6947.