Memorial Day - May 26, 2003
Did you know the tradition of Memorial Day dates back to 1868? First called Decoration Day, the event began as a day to clean and ornament the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. Over the years, Memorial Day observances have grown to include parades, ceremonies featuring decorated veterans, and special events at many of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 120 national cemeteries. Many events also include observing the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day. This moment of reflection was recognized by an act of Congress to honor the nearly 900,000 Americans who have died in military service, and to make the holiday more relevant, especially for younger Americans. As Memorial Day is observed around the country, is highlighting benefit programs available for veterans and the families of deceased veterans.

For more information on the National Moment of Remembrance, visit the White House Commission on Remembrance Web site:

  • Burial Expenses Allowance for Veterans
    A VA burial allowance is a partial reimbursement of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service-related, the reimbursement is generally disbursed in two payments: (1) burial and funeral expense allowance (2) plot interment allowance. For more information visit

  • Government Headstones and Markers for Private Cemeteries
    Provides lasting memorials for the graves of eligible veterans throughout the world, and honors their service through Presidential Memorial Certificates. For more information, visit

  • National Cemeteries
    The goals of the program are to provide burial space and perpetual care for veterans and members of the Armed Forces of the United States whose service terminated other than dishonorably. The program also applies to Reservists and National Guard members, having 20 years qualifying service for the purpose of receiving retired pay, and certain eligible dependents. For more information visit

  • Presidential Memorial Certificates
    A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is a gold embossed paper certificate inscribed with the veteran's name that bears the President's signature. It honors the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans. For more information visit