June 20, 2006, 08:00:00 AM
WASHINGTON – The grave locations of more than three million veterans and dependents buried in national cemeteries can be found more easily now because the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has added maps of burial sections online that can be printed from home computers and at national cemetery kiosks.
The latest improvement builds upon a service begun two years ago, in which a VA online feature permits family members to find the cemetery in which their loved one is buried.
“This new map feature makes it easier for families, friends and researchers to find the exact location of a veteran’s grave in all national cemeteries and some state veterans cemeteries,” said the Honorable R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “It enhances VA’s service at national cemeteries, already highly regarded, and our commitment to them as national shrines and historical treasures.”
The gravesite locator (http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov), online since April 2004, helps veterans' families, former comrades-in-arms and others find the cemeteries where veterans are buried. With the new online feature, people enter a veteran’s name to search, click on the “Buried At” (burial location) link and a map of the national cemetery is displayed, showing the section where the grave is located.
In a related development, VA recently added to its database the cemeteries in which 1.9 million veterans were buried with VA grave markers. These are mostly private cemeteries. This addition brings the number of graves recorded in the locator to approximately five million. Those with maps are in VA national cemeteries and in state veterans cemeteries and
Beyond the five million records now available, VA continues to add approximately 1,000 new records to the database each day. VA also plans to add to its online database the exact locations of veterans’ gravesites in the remaining state veterans cemeteries.
In the midst of the largest cemetery expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 123 national cemeteries in 39 states and
Veterans with a discharge other than dishonorable, their spouses, and eligible dependent children may be buried in a national cemetery. Other burial benefits include a burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate, and a government headstone or marker – even if they are not buried in a national cemetery. Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the Internet at http://www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1 800-827-1000.
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