Replacing V.A. Markers & Headstones
Previously furnished headstones and markers may be replaced at Government expense when badly deteriorated, illegible, stolen or vandalized. A replacement is also available if the headstone or marker is different from that specified by the applicant or permitted by the cemetery, the inscription is incorrect, if it was damaged in transit, or the material or workmanship does not meet specifications.
Government headstones or markers in private cemeteries damaged by cemetery personnel will not be replaced at Government expense.
Marble or granite headstones or markers, permanently removed from a grave, must be destroyed until illegible and bronze markers must be returned to the contractor.
Please contact Memorial Programs Service at 1-800-697-6947 for guidance on obtaining a replacement headstone or marker.
Government-provided headstones and markers must be inscribed with the name of the decedent, branch of service, and the year of birth and death, in this order.
Headstones and markers may be inscribed with certain optional items including an authorized emblem of belief, and space permitting, additional text including grade, rate or rank, war service, complete dates of birth and death, military awards, military organizations and civilian or veteran affiliations. Terms of endearments that meet acceptable standards of good taste may also be added with VA's approval. Most optional inscription items are placed as the last lines of the inscription on a Government-provided headstone or marker.
No graphics (logos, symbols, etc.) are permitted on Government-provided headstones and markers other than the approved emblems of belief, the Civil War Union Shield and the Civil War Confederate Southern Cross of Honor and the Medal of Honor insignias. Inscriptions for Government-provided headstones and markers will be in English text only.
Documentation must be provided with VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private or State Veterans' Cemetery, when requesting military awards in the inscription. In most cases this information is provided on the veteran's military discharge documents. Military awards and decorations (including those from foreign governments) other than those listed in Block 8 may be inscribed as optional inscriptions at Government expense at the bottom of the headstone or marker. They should be requested in Block 27. Documentation confirming these awards must be submitted with the application.
Civilian titles such as Doctor or Reverend, or any other additions to the name are not permitted on the name line of a Government-provided headstone or marker.
A veteran's spouse or other non-veteran dependent is not eligible to receive a Government-provided headstone or marker for placement in a private cemetery; however, the applicant may request to reserve inscription space below the veteran's inscription so that the non-veteran dependent's commemorative data can be inscribed locally, at private expense, when the non-veteran dependent is buried. Or the non-veteran dependent's name and date of birth can be added at Government expense when the headstone or marker is ordered. When the non-veteran dependent is buried the date of death may then be added at private expense.