Department Chaplain Rev. Dr. Richard E. Denison, Jr.
I joined the American Legion during Operation Desert Storm. Shortly after that I received a call from a local memorial garden informing me they had a great deal for veterans. They said they were opening a new section that would have patriotic monuments and an avenue of flags to honor all the veterans buried there. I was always a bit suspicious about phone call sales people, but I played along a bit to get more information. After a while I asked this question, “Can you beat free?” The salesperson kept saying how competitive their pricing was. I said, “But I can be buried in a nation cemetery for free.”
The salesperson continued to tout the avenue of flags, the veteran’s memorial statue and their perpetual care. But I told them at Indiantown Gap Cemetery, not far from my home they always had a beautiful avenue of flats, a large amphitheater for a veteran’s memorial and it was the best kept cemetery I ever visited. The salesperson hung up.
We don’t like to think about when we may take our journey from this life to life eternal. Few of us pause to plan for our funerals in advance and leave that up to our loved ones. However, our national cemeteries are a great benefit to all veterans and their spouses. Not only are the grave sites completely free but also all burial vault and grave opening fees included. That can save several thousand dollars of expenses. Even if you chose to be buried in a local cemetery, all veterans are entitled to a complimentary grave marker which can also save considerable expense.
It’s a great gift of love to do some planning for your own funeral service. It saves your loved ones questioning what your wishes would be. Most of our local funeral directors are a significant help in this. But, as you make your plans, remember burial in a national cemetery is one of the benefits you have already paid for by your service to our nation. There your service will be respected and honored in perpetuity. It also is a great benefit that can give significant financial savings to your family. Let’s make use of this great benefit.