Vet's wife burial
May 29, 2012
Veteran’s wife can be buried at national cemetery
Dear Sgt. Shaft:
I’m a U.S. Air Force and California Air National Guard veteran
with nearly 18 years of honorable service to my country.
Today is the saddest day of my life and the lives of my son’s
and my veteran spouse’s family. My wife of 29 years, who served as
a dedicated military spouse for all but the first 11
months of my nearly 18 years of service, has passed on to be with our
I was always anticipating that she would outlive me. This was not the
case. Can you tell me if a spouse of a living veteran is eligible of the
same honors of a spouse of a passed veteran interned at a national cemetery?
In February 2010, I had my veteran father interred at the Santa Nella
National Cemetery in California and have given my family instructions to
have my remains interred there as well. I would like for my wife and
veteran spouse to receive the same honor and benefit, as she is surely
deserving of it.
Sorry for your loss and thank you for your service. The answer to
your question is yes. Those in the know at the Department of Veterans
Affairs tell me burial benefits available to veterans such as
your father include a grave site in any of VA’s 123 national cemeteries with available space, the
opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag and a
presidential memorial certificate at no cost to the family.
At the time of your father’s death, arrangements were made to
have your mother interred along with him. The burial benefits available
for her as well as for other spouses of veterans and dependents buried
in a national cemetery include burial with the veteran and perpetual
care. Her name and date of birth and death also will be inscribed on the
veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family.
• Congratulations to Rep. Harold Rogers. Kentucky Republican,
and Bernadette Budde, who were named as recipients of the 2012 Adam
Smith Award for their advocacy of free enterprise: free markets, low
taxes, limited government, respect for private property and stable
The awards are given by the Friends of Adam Smith and Business
Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) organizations. Some previous
award recipients include Speaker John Boehner, Gov. Haley Barbour and
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
• Kudos to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For the
third time since the 1990-1991 Gulf War, VA researchers will contact
Gulf War-era veterans as a part of a long-term study of their
“Our message to our Gulf War veterans is clear. We are not
forgetting you, we are listening to you, and we are acting,”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. This Gulf War
follow-up study provides an important long-term look at how Gulf War
veterans are faring and will provide essential data to guide the care of
For the “Follow-up Study of a National Cohort of Gulf War and
Gulf Era Veterans,” researchers want to learn about how the health
of these veterans has changed over time, and about the natural history
of long-term conditions like unexplained multi-symptom illnesses.
Researchers will begin contacting participants at the end of May 2012.
Veterans were previously contacted for a baseline survey in 1995 and a
follow-up survey in 2005.
This continuing VA effort studies a group of approximately 15,000
Gulf War veterans and 15,000 veterans who served elsewhere during the
Gulf War. The study group includes all branches of service, representing
active, Reserve and National Guard members. Women are being oversampled
to make sure they are represented, making up 20 percent of the study
sample. Veterans will respond via a paper or online survey, and
researchers will also review medical records from a sample of study
Veterans will be asked about health issues that affect them,
including chronic medical conditions such as cancer, neurological,
respiratory and immunological conditions, as well as general health
perceptions, functional status, chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness,
unexplained multi-symptom illness and women’s health.
Veterans will be queried about their level of physical activity and
their use of alcohol and tobacco. They also will be asked about their
use of VA health care and satisfaction with their care.
More than a dozen scientific articles have been published from the
two earlier surveys in the study. This work has investigated
multi-symptom illnesses, chronic diseases and environmental exposures
associated with military deployment. For example, a recent scientific
article showed that Gulf War veterans health has worsened over time
compared to the health of Gulf War-era veterans who served
Gulf War veterans reported higher rates of ongoing unexplained
multi-symptom illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic
fatigue syndrome-like illness, along with higher health care
utilization, including frequent clinic visits and recurrent
hospitalization. These findings, other ongoing studies and future
research efforts will help VA to better understand the health
consequences of deployment and guide care delivery.
VA is funding the new study by a team from the Post-Deployment Health
Epidemiology Program, Office of Public Health. VA is working toward
improving care, services and benefits for veterans of all eras. Additional
information about this study can be found at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/epidemiology/studies/gulf-war-follow-up.asp.
Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900,
Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or