USVA emblems for headstones and markers

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains many cemeteries specifically devoted to veterans. Most have various rules regarding what must take place in order to be interred there.

The VA only permits graphics on Government-furnished headstones or markers that are approved emblems of belief, the Civil War Union Shield (including those who served in the U.S. military through the Spanish American War), the Civil War Confederate Southern Cross of Honor, and the Medal of Honor insignia. Arlington National Cemetery has similar restrictions on headstones, though it is maintained by US Department of the Army.

Generally the VA adds a new symbol a few months after receiving a petition from a faith group.[1] However, the Wiccan symbol was only added in 2007 to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of several families by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in November 2006.[1][2][3] A separate parallel lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Wiccan churches and three families by the American Civil Liberties Union in September 2006, which was resolved by the same settlement.[4][5][6]

The first interfaith headstone, which includes a Wiccan pentacle for Jan Deanna O'Rourke and a Presbyterian Cross for her husband, was installed at Arlington National Cemetery on May 1, 2007, and dedicated on July 4, 2007.[7]

Headstone and marker symbols

The following emblems and emblem numbers are publicized as available for Government headstones and markers as of October 2013.[8] A process is in place to consider approving additional religious or belief system emblems requested by the families of individuals eligible for these headstones and markers.[8]

See also


External links

  • Some emblems (official form)
  • All available emblems
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