We Honor Veterans

You, as a veteran have secured the right and honor to be laid to rest in a National Cemetery! National Cemeteries are considered among the most important of our national shrines. As such, their dignity, beauty and serenity are of paramount importance in honoring the memory of your national service.

National Cemetery Hours?
National Cemeteries are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Many of the cemeteries gates are open at all times.

Entitled to burial in the national cemetery?
Broadly, eligibility for burial is extended to active duty personnel, veterans, their spouses and dependent children. Veterans must have received an “Other Than Dishonorable Discharge” from active duty service in the armed forces of the United States. General discharges given under honorable conditions and other discharges upgraded to this level by competent authority also qualify. In the case of deaths that occur during active duty periods, the character of such service must be honorable. Except as noted below; those veterans whose date of entry occurred after September 7, 1980 must have completed 24 consecutive months of active duty. Eligibility is granted in cases of less than 24 months service only where discharge is as the result of a service connected disability, hardship or other special circumstances.

Retired Reservists and National Guard members and their spouses and dependent children are also eligible for burial. Members of Reserve and National Guard units who were called to active duty for national emergencies are eligible if they honorably completed that particular period for which they were activated. Reservists, National Guard or ROTC personnel who were never called to active duty or who were called to active duty for training purposes only are not eligible for interment in National Cemeteries unless death occurred during or as a result of a condition incurred during training. National Guard who have retired with 20 years of service are also eligible.

Other Personnel
Eligibility is granted to members of the US Merchant Marine and civil service members of the Army and Naval Transportation Services who served on ocean-going duty between December 7, 1941 and August 15, 1945. Merchant Mariners from this period are encouraged to secure an updated discharge from the US Coast Guard through their nearest VA Regional Office.

Spouses and Dependent Children
Wives or husbands of those referred to above are also approved for burial in National Cemeteries. Divorced spouses lose their entitlement to interment.
Dependent children retain their eligibility for burial until they reach the age of 21. If they are attending an approved institution of education, this age limit is extended to 23 years. Adult children may only be buried if they are unmarried and are incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability incurred before their 21st birthday.

Arranging for burial in a national cemetery.
Pearson’s Funeral Homes will act on behalf of your family in arranging for burials in National Cemeteries. Where a cremation has occurred and the remains are already in possession of the family, they may find it more convenient to apply for placement through our funeral home. In any case, three major areas will be cared for in these arrangements: verification of eligibility, scheduling of the committal service or delivery and the submission of correct information for the grave marker. No pre-arrangements or reservations are available in national cemeteries. Set aside gravesites are available to married veterans.

There is no charge for any gravesite, interment activity or grave marker. Use of the cemetery’s shelter for committal services is also without cost. In light of these benefits; our government will pay no additional burial benefit to survivors of those interred in national cemeteries. Also, the funeral home will charge you for professional services, caskets, Urns and transportation costs. The government will not pick up any of these costs.

Verifying Eligibility
It is critical that you provide us the appropriate discharges in order that eligibility be established immediately. Veterans should make every effort to see that copies of their discharges are safely and conveniently available at any time. Those making pre-arrangements with us need to provide copies that are made a part of the arrangement folder. This eliminates the requirement of hurried searches for them at the time of death. Where a family is unable to locate a discharge, it may often be found filed with the clerk’s office of the county in which the veteran resided at the time of his or her release from active duty.
Where discharges are unavailable, those acting on behalf of the decedent should provide the funeral home with as much military information as possible (service branch, service number, active duty dates or estimates, etc.). VA claim numbers or information on past VA hospitalization or other benefits may be helpful. Verifying eligibility without discharges may prove difficult, resulting in delays in the scheduling of your loved ones services. In this regard it is important to understand that computerized records do not exist for every former service member.

Gravesite Assignment
Those arranging the services for a loved one should inform us of any spouses or children buried in the cemetery. Burial locations are assigned the afternoon prior to interment. The gravesite number and its location will be given to the next of kin following the committal service or mailed following the simple delivery of remains.

Marker Inscriptions and Ordering
Pearson’s Funeral Home will file the appropriate applications for the grave marker. This will be done during our arrangements conference. An approved religious emblem will be inscribed on the marker at no cost if requested. Regulations allow for the inscription on the marker of a higher rank than the veteran achieved while on active duty if that higher rank was awarded during reserve duty of the same branch of service. In such cases it is important that proof of this higher rank be provided before we order the marker. Where space permits, additional inscriptions of terms of endearment in good taste may be ordered. The permanent grave marker is ordered immediately following each interment, until its arrival from the manufacturer a temporary marker will identify the gravesite. Permanent markers normally are shipped to the cemetery within ten to fourteen weeks. Entirely new markers with multiple inscriptions are ordered when a eligible next of kin is placed.

Committal Services
The cemetery provides a special shelter on the grounds as an appropriate location for memorial services. The cemetery’s service schedule requires that services be limited to twenty minutes in length.
Families, with our help, should engage their own clergy as no chaplains are available from the national cemetery. Those gathering in remembrance of the decedent are to meet at the committal shelter.
Following the conclusion of the service and the departure of visitors, the remains are transported under our supervision by cemetery personnel to the gravesite for burial. Your loved one will never be left unattended and our personnel will constantly insure that their remains are handled with the upmost dignity and care.

Military Honors
Military Honors may be rendered at the committal service for veterans.
The funeral home will provide a list of organizations that can provide these services. Where a veteran was a career retiree or received special valor awards, appropriate military installations may be able to assign uniformed personnel to carry out full military honors.

Other Information
Flowers and Floral Containers
Fresh flowers may be placed on grave sites at any time. Glass vases and jars are not permitted. Flowers are normally removed from gravesites weekly during the mowing season or when they become withered or unsightly.
Artificial flowers and potted plants are permitted on graves.
Cemetery regulations do not permit medallions, photographs or other items to be permanently affixed to grave markers. Visitors should understand that unauthorized materials will be removed from gravesites and discarded.

The flag of the United States is flown over the cemetery continually. It is lowered to half-staff only during periods of burial, Memorial Day and other occasions designated by the President or Congress.
You are given a memorial flag at no cost by the government.
The Avenue of Flags is displayed on Memorial Day and other special occasions and holidays. Families may donate memorial casket flags to the national cemetery for display in the Avenue of Flags.

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