How To Get A Headstone For A Veteran? Top Full Information 2022

How To Get A Headstone For A Veteran; Top Full Information

A headstone for a veteran is a way to remember their sacrifice and honor their service. Headstones can be personalized with the veteran’s name, rank, and dates of service. They can also include a special message from family or friends. Veterans’ headstones are available at no cost to the family through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

So how to get a headstone for a veteran? 

Let’s be with GuardYourHealth answers this question.

Headstones & Markers for Veterans/Servicemembers

VA grave markers for veterans

What Are Military Headstones Made Of?


Due to its improved durability and aesthetic appeal, granite is one of the most popular materials for headstones and burial markers in the world. Granite is a naturally occurring stone that is becoming more durable and comes in a range of intriguing hues, including jet black, mountain red, light pink, blue pearl, tropical green, and more.

Granite can survive high temperatures, climatic changes, snow, sleet, rain, and salt because of its increased strength. Due to its increased architectural flexibility, granite is generally regarded by expert monument makers as a fantastic material for creating monuments.

Given that granite is one of the more affordable monument materials, some churchyards only permit granite headstones to preserve the cemetery’s uniform appearance. Granite is the top choice among customers looking to purchase memorial headstones because it can endure the test of time for years to come.


Military tombstone

For millennia, bronze has been used frequently to create monuments and grave markers. Because they don’t need to be maintained frequently, bronze headstones and memorials are utilized extensively over the world. Additionally, there are many different design alternatives for these memorials.

It is far more frequently employed to create flat marks or plaques. Last but not least, bronze is a rather pricey option for constructing headstones because it is typically twice as expensive as granite due to the high cost of copper.


The majority of monuments constructed of marble have increasingly beautiful designs since marble can be used to create sophisticated headstone designs.

However, one of the major drawbacks of utilizing marble is that over time, inscriptions made on it become unreadable when it is subjected to acidic rain. Because marble requires a lot of upkeep, consumers looking for high-quality products typically don’t favor marble headstones.


What Are Military Headstones Made Of

Sandstone is a material that can be carved into many different sizes and forms to create grave markers and headstones that are very personalized. It comes in a variety of elegant and delicate hues, from sandy to grey. Sandstone is naturally quite resilient, but when moisture gets between its layers, it quickly loses its luster.


Due to its appealing smooth texture and historical popularity, slate monuments and headstones were once a common option among many individuals. These memorials were equally simple to cut and frequently featured white paint or gilding. They didn’t endure very long, though, as slate eventually becomes slightly permeable and crumbles.


One of the earliest types of grave markers and monuments is the fieldstone. Natural fieldstones were either left unmarked or decorated with a metal awl when used to create memorials. Fieldstone burial markers typically included a symbol in addition to the deceased’s name and age.

Different Markers

Military grave markers for veterans

There are various kinds of markers available, including:

Upright headstones – These are composed of marble or granite and are 42 inches long, 13 inches broad, and 4 inches thick. The weight is about 230 pounds.

Flat bronze grave marker – The flat bronze grave marker has a rise of 3/4 inch and measures 24 inches long by 12 inches broad. 18 pounds or so is the approximate weight. The marker comes with anchor bolts, nuts, and washers for attaching to a base. A base is not provided by the government.

Flat marble or granite – Grave markers made of flat marble or granite measure 24 inches long, 12 inches broad, and 4 inches thick. 130 pounds or so is the approximate weight.

Bronze niche – The dimensions of this niche marker are 8 1/2 inches long by 5 1/2 inches wide, with a height of 7/16 inches. The marker weighs around 3 pounds, and mounting bolts and washers are included.

Medallions – The VA will, upon request, supply a medallion to be attached to an existing, privately purchased tombstone or marker to denote the deceased’s veteran status.

Veterans whose deaths occurred on or after November 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or grave marker, are provided with this device in place of a traditional Government headstone or grave marker. The term “VETERAN” is written across the top of each medallion, and the branch of service is written across the bottom.

The following details must be written on the headstone or marker:

  • The deceased’s legal name
  • The deceased’s service branch
  • The deceased’s birth date and death date
  • The section and grave number (Only if this is a state or national cemetery)

You might also like to engrave:

  • The deceased’s highest attained the rank
  • The deceased’s awards and war service
  • The deceased’s special unit identification

The next-of-kin of the deceased or an authorized representative, such as a funeral home director, must give this information to the cemetery administration.

VA Grave Markers & Headstones

VA cemetery markers

Do veterans get free grave markers?

The VA will install a government headstone or marker at no cost to you if you request one.

The Veterans Affairs grave marker and the Veterans Administration grave marker are alternate names for them.

However, you will be responsible for the setup costs if you plan for it to be buried in a private cemetery.

You may apply for up to 2 medallions from the VA if your dead loved one already has a headstone or grave marker that was purchased privately. They will be added to show that the deceased was a veteran or military member and a Medal of Honor recipient.

They serve as an alternative to the customary government headstone or marker. The government may provide a headstone or marker for your deceased relative or two medallions, but not both.

Veterans Medallion for Grave Markers & Headstones

Veterans Medallion for Grave Markers & Headstones

1. Bronze Medallions

There are three sizes available for this sort of medallion: small, medium, and large.

  • Small: 2” W x 1 to 1.5”H x ⅓”D
  • Medium: 2-¾”W X 2-⅞”H X ¼”D
  • Large: 5-⅜”W X 4-¾”H X ½”D

“VETERAN” is written at the top and the service branch is written at the bottom. Here’s an illustration:

2. Medal of Honor Medallions

There are two sizes of this sort of medallion: medium and large.

They have the words “MEDAL OF HONOR” written at the top and “service branch” at the bottom. Here’s an illustration:

Note: You must select “Other” in block 11 and enter “MOH” if you want the Medal of Honor medallion.

How to Get a Military Headstone or VA Grave Marker

1. Verify Your Late Loved One’s Eligibility

Verify Your Late Loved One's Eligibility

Veterans and Active Duty Military

Any service member who died while in active duty or who was not given a dishonorable discharge:

Officers before October 16, 1981 and enlisted before September 7, 1980

(A minimum of one of the following)

  • Died on or after November 1, 1990, and a privately purchased headstone commemorates their burial.
  • Buried in an unmarked grave, wherever in the globe.
  • Enlisted after Sep. 7, 1980 & Officers after Oct. 16, 1981

(A minimum of one of the following)

  • Died on or after November 1, 1990, and a privately purchased headstone commemorates their burial.
  • Buried in an unmarked grave, wherever in the globe.

(And one of them, at least)

  • Served for at least 24 months in active-duty
  • Died while serving on active duty
  • National Guard Members & Reservists

Members of the National Guard must check off at least one of these:

  • Was over 60 years old or qualified for retirement pay at the time of death
  • Served during the time they were called to duty while in Federal status, Reservists must check at least one of the following:
  • Was over 60 years old or qualified for retirement pay at the time of death
  • Wasn’t summoned to active duty to train Spouses and Dependents

While spouses and family members are not eligible if they are interred in a private cemetery, they are if they are interred in a national cemetery, state or tribal cemetery for veterans, military post cemetery, or military base cemetery.

2. Determine Whether You Can Make An Order For Your Departed

marker headstone

You must be one of the following to apply for a headstone and other memorial items for the deceased:

  • A family member
  • A personal representative
  • A state or local government employee serving Veterans
  • A legal representative for the burial or memorialization of the deceased

If the deceased’s remains, though:

  • Have not been identified or recovered
  • Were buried at sea
  • Were donated to science
  • Were cremated and scattered

You must be a family member to order a headstone or other memorial object.

3. Gather The Deceased’s Military Records of Separation.

Gather The Deceased's Military Records of Separation.

The following records may be submitted as evidence of the deceased’s honorable discharge:

  • Transcript of Military Record (aka. DA 1569)
  • Armed Forces Identification Card (aka. DD 2A, 2AF, 2CG, 2MC, 2N, or 2NOAA)
  • Statement of Service (aka. DD13)
  • Discharge Certificate (aka. DD217, AGO 525, 755, 01252, 01502, WD AGO 1502, 1504)
  • Honorable Discharge Certificate (aka. DD 256A, 256F, 256CG, 256MC, or 256N)
  • General Discharge Certificate (aka. DD257A, 257AF, 257CG, 257MC, or 257N)
  • Official Retirement Order or Register (aka. VA 3101)
  • Report of Transfer or Discharge (aka. NOAA Form 56-16)
  • Summary of Record of Active Service (VA Adjudication 545)
  • Reserve Retirement Eligibility Benefits Letter
  • Verification of Service Letter from the VA

4. Complete the Standard Government Headstone or Marker Claim Form.

The VA Form 40 – 1330 is another popular name for this. You can get it here.

5. Send the VA the Claim and the Discharge Papers.

Send the VA the Claim and the Discharge Papers

There are three options for doing this:

(1) Online

  • Accessible VA
  • Open the direct upload tool.
  • Your VA Form 40 – 1330 and supporting documentation

Note: Register first if this is your first time using the tool.

(2) Mail

Mail your VA Form 40 – 1330 and documents to the following address:

  • Memorial Products Service 41B
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • 5109 Russell Road
  • Quantico, VA 22134 – 39093

(3) Fax

Send your VA Form 40-1330 and supporting papers via fax to 800-455-7143.

Here are various images of headstones and Veteran grave markers for your reference before you depart.


FAQs about How to Get a Headstone for a Veteran

What Is A Military Marker?

For qualified deceased active duty service personnel and Veterans whose remains are not found or recognized, who are buried at sea, who are donated to science, or whose cremated ashes have been scattered, memorial headstones and markers, for individuals or groups, are provided.

Why Are Military Headstones White?

There are many explanations for why military headstones are white. One reason is that white marble is a traditional symbol of purity and innocence. It is also a color that is associated with peace and tranquility. Another reason is that white is a neutral color that can be used to represent all soldiers, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Finally, white headstones are very visible and easy to read, which is important when remembering and honoring the fallen.

How Much Does A Tombstone Weigh?

Most tombstones weigh between 200 and 400 pounds. The weight of a tombstone depends on the type of stone it is made of, the size of the tombstone, and the design of the tombstone.