Arlington National Cemetery evokes emotion like no other place. Looking at rows of gravestones that extend for as far as the eye can see is incredibly moving. The most moving part of the experience is realizing that each grave represents someone who sacrificed time or life for America. Arlington is the resting place for more than soldiers. Read the steps to determine whether someone you know is eligible for in-ground burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
Military Service and Government Official Criteria
Show proof that the person was active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Realize that people serving active duty for training only are ineligible.
Show paperwork proving the deceased was a veteran who retired from active Armed Forces military service.
Know that any retired Reserves veteran who served a period of active duty is eligible after age 60 if he is drawing retirement pay. Expect the Reservist to not be included if the duty was for training purposes only.
Apply if the person has 30 percent or greater disability and she received an honorable separation prior to October 1, 1949. Expect to be denied if the disability occurred after separation.
Request burial at Arlington if the former Armed Forces member received the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star or Purple Heart.
Expect the current or former President of the United States to receive burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Realize that any former Armed Forces member who served active duty other than for training and held certain government positions are eligible. Know the eligibility extends to the Office of the Chief Justice, the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and people who held an elective office in the U.S. government.
Be aware that officials in select executive positions and military positions may be buried in Arlington if they served active duty.
Apply if the deceased is a former prisoner of war who served honorably in the active military, air service or naval service while he was a POW. Realize that the person must have received an honorable discharge and died on or after November 30, 1993.
Family Member Criteria
Understand that a widow or widower of Armed Forces members who were lost or buried at sea are eligible. Apply if the deceased was the widow or widower of a member of the Armed Force buried in a U.S. military cemetery overseas. Know that cemetery must have been maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Expect acceptance if the deceased was widow or widower of an Armed Forces member buried in Arlington as part of a group burial.
Expect parents of a minor child or dependent child to be eligible if the certain conditions apply. The child must be buried in Arlington based on the parent's eligibility. Realize that a spouse is ineligible for burial in Arlington if the she is divorced from the eligible person or if she remarried after her husband died.
Apply if the deceased is the minor children, permanently dependent children or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Know that a former member of the Armed Forces may be buried in the same grave with a close relative who is buried in Arlington. Understand that the person already buried must be the primary eligible. Realize that certain conditions must be met.
Request burial in Arlington if the deceased is the spouse, widow or widower, minor child, permanently dependent child, and certain unmarried adult child of a POW.
- cemetery image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com