The Veterans Administration provides headstones at no charge for veterans who were honorably discharged.
There are three styles — a bronze plaque, all granite flat and granite upright. The bronze plaques may be placed on a flat granite base or affixed to the back of an upright or slant marker.
The VA requires proof of honorable discharge, which can be found on the veteran’s DD214 paperwork. There is an application on the VA.gov website for obtaining this form if it isn’t in the veteran’s files.
The application for the marker is also on the VA’s website.
Cemetery staff has these forms and is happy to assist families in filling them out.
Topeka Cemetery will set all-granite VA markers at no charge. Bronze plaques must be on granite; the charge for a flat granite base is $250.
Some veterans bronzes in Topeka Cemetery were set in concrete. Many families who opt for a matching bronze plaque for the spouse will have the concrete removed from the veteran’s plaque and both spouses’ plaques put on a single piece of granite. This can be done with or without a vase.
If the veteran’s grave is already marked, the VA will not supply a headstone. It will, however, provide a medallion noting the veteran’s branch of service. The same paperwork applies, and the medallion also is free of charge.
Medallions come in three sizes, so the existing headstone should be measured to determine which size will fit the best. Cemetery staff can help with that, too.