First and foremost, if you are reading this and have served our country, the staff at Lankford Funeral Home and Crematory wants to say thank you for the right of freedom you have given to all Americans.
I recently had the honor of escorting two wonderful WWII veterans, John and Ray to Washington, DC with our Volusia Honor Air program and it was a day I will never forget. It is made possible through our DeLand Rotary Clubs where we provide air transportation for WWII veterans, men and women alike to give them an opportunity to see the WWII Memorial. Most importantly, I made two very special friends that tell me first hand what it was like to be there and to serve. Talk about a history lesson!!
We also toured Arlington National Cemetery and witnessed the changing of the honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. What an experience to see the precision and dignity that these gentlemen display for those lost while serving our country. If you are in the Washington area this is open to the public and is a must see.
Their mission statement reads; “The National Cemetery Administration honors veterans with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service to our nation.”
Our staff has first hand experience to witness that this statement stands true. Please read on for things to consider if you are a veteran.
You will find cemeteries that will offer a free grave space to you, the veteran. You are entitled to a marker to be placed in the cemetery as well. What you don’t know is in some for-profit and non-profit cemeteries you have to pay for the second space for a spouse along with a marker and the cost of preparing the grave for the burial. This fee could end up costing you from $1,800 to thousands! You must then buy a vault for the casket to be placed in and some cemeteries require an urn vault for cremated remains as well, yet another cost.
If you have a copy of your discharge papers (dd214) you are entitled to a free space for YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE, FREE GRAVE MARKER FOR YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE, FREE OPEN AND CLOSE TO PREPARE THE GRAVE FOR YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE AND THE GOVERNMENT ISSUED VAULT FREE FOR YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE.
The only down side to this is, the veteran and spouse or a child of the veteran under the age of 18 are the only ones that can be buried in a government owned cemetery. But for the cost, it is something to think about. There are 4 National Cemeteries in the Florida area, but you may be entitled to be buried anywhere in the USA in a National Cemetery.
AGAIN, YOU MUST HAVE A COPY OF YOUR DISCHARGE PAPERS TO BE ELIGIBLE. IF YOU NO LONGER HAVE A COPY PLEASE GO ONLINE TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION AT WWW.cem.va.gov OR CALL US AT 386-734-2244 AND OUR STAFF WILL BE GLAD TO ASSIST YOU. OUR STAFF EMAIL SERVICE IS POSTED ON OUR WEBSITE AND WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS.