Headstones and Niche Covers

Government Headstone/Niche Cover

Headstone

The government will provide at no cost to the estate of the deceased an upright, white marble headstone or white niche cover. The cemetery staff at Arlington will place the order, which goes to the National Cemetery Administration, which is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The order for the headstone or niche cover will include the appropriate inscription and choice of emblem of belief.

Headstones, provided by the government, are ordered after the day of interment. The next-of-kin will review the proposed stone text prior to the date of interment and then agree and finalize the order on the day of the interment at the chapel or administrative building at Arlington National Cemetery.

An online Headstone and Niche Cover Design tool is available to assist in this process. It will assist in entering standard inscription information including name, branch of service, war service(s), awards, date of birth/death, a term of endearment if desired and an optional religious symbol.

Upright marble stones (13x24x4) generally contain eleven lines of text with or without an emblem of belief. Headstones are ordered from the Veteran’s Administration and follow standard guidelines. Generally, the stone can accommodate 13 characters and spaces per name line, 15 characters and spaces on all others. A veteran’s government headstone must contain name, rank, date of birth and date of death. Other lines can include combat service and significant awards. An additional inscription can be used to show a term of endearment or reference (e.g. Loving Father, Husband and Son, Fought for Freedom, Proud Soldier, etc.).

Niche granite or marble covers (15 ¾ x 11 ¼ x ¼) generally contain 11 lines including a religious emblem and have 11 characters on the name line, 13 on all others except the 11th line which only contains 10 characters or spaces.

While the next-of-kin does not order the government headstone/niche cover for placement in Arlington National Cemetery, he or she can check on the status of the order by calling, toll-free (877) 907-8585, between 7:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Eastern Time.

Private Headstone Markers

Certain sections of the cemetery have been specified as sections where private headstone markers can be placed. Private headstone markers placed in the cemetery are subject to approval prior to installation. In accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (32 CFR Part 553.21), the marker will be of simple design, dignified, and appropriate to a military cemetery. Additionally, the Department of the Army is not liable for the maintenance of or damage to private markers.

  1. The erection of headstone markers at private expense to mark graves in lieu of government headstones and markers is permitted only in sections of Arlington National Cemetery in which private headstone markers were authorized as of 1 January 1947. These markers will be of simple design, dignified, and appropriate to a military cemetery. The name of the person(s) or the name of an organization, fraternity, or society responsible for the purchase and erection of the marker will not be permitted on the marker or anywhere else in the cemetery. More specific and detailed information can be provided upon request.
  2. Except as may be authorized for marking group burials, ledger markers of freestanding cross design, narrow shafts, mausoleums, or over-ground vaults are prohibited

Emblems

Below is a listing of the authorized emblems of beliefs for placement on government headstones and markers.

1
CHRISTIAN CROSS
CHRISTIAN CROSS
2
BUDDHIST
BUDDHIST
3
JUDAISM (Star of David)
JUDAISM
(Star of David)
4
PRESBYTERIAN CROSS
PRESBYTERIAN CROSS
5
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CROSS
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CROSS
6
LUTHERAN CROSS
LUTHERAN CROSS
7
EPISCOPAL CROSS
EPISCOPAL CROSS
8
UNITARIAN (Flaming Chalice)
UNITARIAN
(Flaming Chalice)
9
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
10
AARONIC ORDER CHURCH
AARONIC ORDER CHURCH
11
MORMON (Angel Moroni)
MORMON
(Angel Moroni)
12
NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH OF NORTH AMERICA
NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH OF NORTH AMERICA
13
SERBIAN ORTHODOX
SERBIAN ORTHODOX
14
GREEK CROSS
GREEK CROSS
15
BAHAI (9-Pointed Star)
BAHAI (9-Pointed Star)
16
ATHEIST
ATHEIST
17
MUSLIM (Crescent and Star)
MUSLIM
(Crescent and Star)
18
HINDU
HINDU
19
KONKO-KYO FAITH
KONKO-KYO FAITH
20
COMMUNITY OF CHRIST
COMMUNITY OF CHRIST
21
SUFISM REORIENTED
SUFISM REORIENTED
22
TENRIKYO CHURCH
TENRIKYO CHURCH
23
SEICHO-NO-IE
SEICHO-NO-IE
24
THE CHURCH OF WORLD MESSIANITY
THE CHURCH OF WORLD MESSIANITY
25
UNITED CHURCH OF RELIGIOUS SCIENCE
UNITED CHURCH OF RELIGIOUS SCIENCE
26
CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH
CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH
27
UNITED MORAVIAN CHURCH
UNITED MORAVIAN CHURCH
28
ECKANKAR
ECKANKAR
29
CHRISTIAN CHURCH
CHRISTIAN CHURCH
30
CHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY ALLIANCE
CHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY ALLIANCE
31
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
32
HUMANIST EMBLEM OF SPIRIT
HUMANIST EMBLEM OF SPIRIT
33
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA)
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA)
34
IZUMO TAISHAKYO MISSION OF HAWAII
IZUMO TAISHAKYO MISSION OF HAWAII
35
SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL (USA)
SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL (USA)
36
SIKH (KHANDA)
SIKH (KHANDA)
37
WICCA (Pentacle)
WICCA (Pentacle)
38
LUTHERAN CHURCH MISSOURI SYNOD
LUTHERAN CHURCH MISSOURI SYNOD
39
NEW APOSTOLIC
NEW APOSTOLIC
40
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
41
CELTIC CROSS
CELTIC CROSS
42
ARMENIAN CROSS
ARMENIAN CROSS
43
FAROHAR
FAROHAR
44
MESSIANIC JEWISH
MESSIANIC JEWISH
45
KOHEN HANDS
KOHEN HANDS
46
CATHOLIC CELTIC CROSS
CATHOLIC CELTIC CROSS
47
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST (Cross & Crown)
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST (Cross & Crown)
48
MEDICINE WHEEL
MEDICINE WHEEL
49
INFINITY
INFINITY
51
LUTHER ROSE
LUTHER ROSE
52
LANDING EAGLE
LANDING EAGLE
53
FOUR DIRECTIONS
FOUR DIRECTIONS
54
CHURCH OF NAZARENE
CHURCH OF NAZARINE
98
Emblem (98)
MUSLIM
(Islamic
5-Pointed Star) Not shown due to copyright