Funding Program for State Cemeteries
The Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration (VANCA) was created to honor veterans with national shrines where they can be laid to rest and receive an unending tribute. These special resting grounds commemorate their great service to the American nation and provide those who mourn their loss with the chance to fully pay their respects, appreciate their sacrifice and remember them.
The purpose of this administration is as follows:
- Provide a resting place for veterans and any of their eligible family members.
- Ensure that national cemeteries are maintained as national shrines, so they remain sacred places where those buried or memorialized there can be honored and remembered.
- Mark the graves of veterans with a Government-furnished headstone or marker to give Presidential Memorial Certificates in acknowledgment of their service.
- Manage grants for the creation or expansion of state veterans cemeteries.
The establishment of national cemeteries occurred in the summer of 1862 and the President was authorized to purchase "cemetery grounds" for all of the soldiers who died serving their country. Since its early roots, the NCA has slowly evolved and those who are entitled to this honorable burial are provided a gravesite, graveliner and headstone or marker, Presidential Memorial Certificate and U.S. Flag. In addition, the VA will open and close the grave as well as care for it at no additional cost to the family of the veteran.
Those eligible to be interred in a VA national cemetery include: Veterans, Reservists and National Guard members who have at least 20 years qualifying service, veterans with discharges with the exception of dishonorable, those who die on active duty and qualifying family members (spouses and dependant children) of those who served.
Currently, the National Cemetery Administration maintains 128 of the 142 cemeteries found in the United States. These burial grounds are located in 39 of the 50 U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico. In addition to the cemeteries, they also preserve 33 monument sites and soldier's lots. Due to the fact that a Veteran Affairs national cemetery does not exist in every state, it is important that you first check to find out where they are located if it is your wish to find one for burial or visiting purposes.