Since 1864, Arlington National Cemetery has served as the nation's military cemetery honoring those who served. Located across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia, the cemetery is the burial ground for more than 400,000 service members, veterans and family members. Throughout the cemetery there are several memorials honoring fallen service members, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Cross of Sacrifice and the Lao Veterans of America Memorial.
The following information will assist you with making arrangements and applying for burial or inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery.
Who Is Eligible For Interment At Arlington National Cemetery?
Due to limited space, only honorably discharged members in certain categories are eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, this includes:
- Members who died on active duty and their immediate family
- Retirees and their immediate family
- Recipients of the Purple Heart, or Silver Star and above
- Any honorably discharged POW who died after Nov. 30, 1993
There is more space available for inurnment, the storage of cremated remains in a Columbarium - or wall. Inurnment is limited to honorably discharged members including:
- All those listed above
- Veterans and their immediate family
- Reservists, National Guard, or Air National Guard members who die while on active duty for training or full-time service and their immediate family
- Reserve or National Guard members with at least one day of active duty (other than for training) and who are qualified to collect retired pay
Scheduling a Funeral at Arlington National Cemetery
Upon the death of the veteran or eligible family member, you should contact a local funeral home to arrange for any desired services in the hometown and assistance. The next-of-kin or funeral director should contact the customer service center at 877-907-8585 to arrange for the service at Arlington
After you call you will be given a case number and asked to send copies of the veteran's DD-214, death certificate, and cremation certificate if applicable. You can email, fax, or mail them.
Arlington National Cemetery, 1 Memorial Ave. Arlington, Virginia 22211
Be prepared, since there is a large demand for interment in Arlington it may take several weeks to several months until your request is approved. Also, special requests such as full military honors or use of a chapel may add to the approval time.
Burial/Inurnment Costs at Arlington National Cemetery
There are no fees or costs for a burial or inurnment. However, all costs associated with preparation of the remains, casket or urn, and shipping of the remains to the Washington, DC area are at the expense of the estate unless the deceased is currently on active duty.
The VA or Social Security may pay some or all or the costs.
Military Funeral Honors
Standard Military Honors
Standard graveside honors can be provided for enlisted service members by the appropriate branch of service at Arlington National Cemetery. These honors include a casket team, a firing party and a bugler.
Additionally, some branches of the armed services will use the caisson for service members who have reached the top NCO grade.
The cemetery staff will make arrangements for military honors when requested by the next of kin or representative. A military chaplain may also be requested.
Full Military Honors
In addition to the standard military honors, certain deceased military veterans may also receive:
- An escort platoon (size varies according to the rank of the deceased)
- A military band
- A caisson
- A colors team
All service members who die from wounds received as result of enemy action are eligible to receive full military honors.
When a family member is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the military service in which the veteran served will provide a casket team and a chaplain. No other military honors will be rendered unless the spouse served in the military.
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