VA Plan to Issue Urns, Memorial Plaques Sparks Concerns

Go Back to News and Updates
  • VA Plan to Issue Urns, Memorial Plaques Sparks Concerns

    In observance of Veterans Day, this year the VA will provide urns and memorial plaques to the families of veterans who have passed away. Some are worried that veterans may no longer be able to bury their spouses with them as a result of this change.

    The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Funeral Directors Association are among those who have voiced their opposition to a clause in the proposed regulation change. According to this clause, the veteran's remains cannot be placed in a national cemetery if a family member chooses to receive an urn or plaque. Furthermore, no additional grave monument will be provided by the VA for any cemetery.

    Several concerns were raised in response to the VA's proposal. Receiving an urn or plaque may come as a shock to families, which might prohibit soldiers from being buried beside their spouses. Offering a memorial urn or plaque may be a "false choice," causing families to decline the gift. There are also worries that subsequent generations would treat veterans' remains improperly.

    Veterans' cemeteries do allow for the interment of cremated remains with those of spouses, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, which represents more than 10,000 funeral facilities. Their reasoning was that this would protect veterans' graves from having non-veteran spouses buried there, without increasing VA costs.

    After examining the comments, the VA plans to publish the final regulation and start awarding urns and plaques this year. The Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, co-authored by Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D., granted the power to grant urn and plaque issuance.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will pay for the urns and plaques that honor the deceased's service as a veteran. According to opponents, Veterans should not deny the substantial advantage of burial in a national cemetery, which also offers permanent care, because of the comparatively modest cost of these goods.

    Concerns of families failing to claim cremated remains upon realizing that accepting the urn or plaque prevented interment in a national cemetery were voiced by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Funeral Directors Association. The significance of treating veterans with respect and compassion and appreciating their service was again stressed by the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.

    While the idea to award urns and plaques by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is intended to commemorate soldiers who have passed away, it has given rise to worries over the possibility of limits being placed on burial alternatives. To regain the privilege of being buried in a national cemetery, some people believe that families should be given the chance to return urns and plaques at some point in the present or future.

    Reference Link: