With the establishment of national cemeteries in 1862, standard markers and headstones were provided for each grave. Until 1920, only veterans who were buried in national cemeteries were eligible for a government-provided marker. After World War I, all eligible members of the armed forces and veterans interred in private cemeteries were eligible for a free government-provided grave marker. However, the family of the deceased veteran was and still is responsible for the installation of the marker or headstone.
The VA provides two types of grave markers to eligible veterans. One type is for in ground installation and is only available for unmarked graves. This type includes both upright and flat markers. The other type, for graves that already have a tombstone, is a bronze medallion that is affixed to the existing tombstone.
In the late-1940s, with the deaths of many World War I veterans, Post 41 began ordering and installing the grave markers for free. In the Clarke County cemeteries that have been cataloged, over 1,100 military markers have been installed on the graves of veterans. Almost all of these were installed by American Legion Post 41 members. Since commercial monument companies currently charge about $500 to install one of the markers, Post 41 has conservatively saved veterans’ families over half a million dollars. It is believed that Post 41 is the only veterans’ group that currently provides this free service.
Post 41 is still committed to assisting families of veterans to obtain government-provided military markers and to install these markers at no charge to the families. Every veteran deserves a marked grave. This is a small way for the members of Post 41 to pay their final respects to a deceased veteran.
The American Legion Flag & Emblem Store also sells grave markers and memorials. For more information, click here.