Serving Those Who Served Our Country
“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead,
and I will measure with mathematical exactness, the tender mercies of its people,
their loyalty to high ideals, and their regard for the laws of the land.”
British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809 -- 1898)
No matter what branch of the military you were in, as veterans you served our country in times of war and in times of peace to ensure that all Americans enjoy the freedoms that our country was built upon. Today, our military personnel continues to sacrifice their time, their energies, and sometimes even their lives to uphold the liberties that are a part of the framework of our country.
At Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, we are proud to serve the veterans who fought to uphold our country's freedoms and the military personnel and families who are currently serving in the US and abroad.
Guiding Our Veterans, Military Personnel, and Their Families
When your final day comes, it's important that you receive a full military sendoff that commemorates your sacrifice and that of your family. At Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, we want to help you and your family navigate this difficult time and guide you through the process to ensure that you are able to receive all of the burial benefits that are offered to veterans and their spouses.
We can do this at the time of your death, but you also have the option to prearrange your funeral to ensure you receive all of the burial benefits in a timely fashion. You can read below for eligibility and you can contact us for help to make sure that you receive your full military burial benefits now when you need them!
Preplanning to Ensure You Receive Burial Benefits
You don't want to burden your family with the task of planning your funeral, along with having to navigate the Veteran's Administration to receive the burial benefits that you deserve. Preplanning helps ensure you receive all of your military burial benefits when you need them. We'll handle all of the paperwork for you and walk you through all of your options so that you and your spouse can rest assured that your military sendoff is befitting the sacrifice you made to your country. Plus, your spouse can receive the same type of benefits as you, even if he or she predeceases you. Click here to see the advantages of preplanning your burial options to ensure your funeral is just the way you want it.
Creating a Memorable Military Celebration
You served our country. Now it’s time for us to honor you one final time during your last and certain event. It’s a way for your family, loved ones, friends, and comrades to recognize the sacrifice you made for your country and for the commendable way you lived your life.
We can tailor your celebration to include a flag presentation, graveside ceremony, playing of taps, 21-gun salute, and other military tributes. You can also have your last ride behind our 2013 Harley Davidson Tri-Glide Trike and custom built 19th Century “Old West” style hearse coach escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders. They are a 100-percent volunteer organization that ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring fallen military heroes, first responders, and honorably discharged veterans. This diverse group of motorcycle riders and others from across the nation have an unwavering respect for those who risk their lives for America’s freedom and security.
In addition to your special military honors, we will help create a celebration that is befitting your personality and your interests and is everything you want it to be.
Selecting Your Burial in a National Cemetery
As a military veteran, you, your spouse and dependents may qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery at no cost to your family. It includes:
Grave Site & Liner: The veteran's burial benefit includes a grave site and liner for you, your spouse and dependents (unmarried children under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if a full-time student).
Headstone or Marker: You are also eligible for an inscribed headstone or marker to mark the grave at any cemetery - national, state veterans, or private. The headstone or marker will be delivered at no cost, anywhere in the world. Spouses and dependent children are eligible for a government headstone or marker only if they are buried in a national or state veterans cemetery.
Opening and Closing of the Grave: There is also no additional cost to you for opening or closing of the grave.
Perpetual Care: Your grave site includes perpetual care forever at your grave site in the national cemetery.
Burial Flag: You can also receive a burial flag for your grave site. See full details below.
Military Funeral Honors: Upon request, DOD will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of Taps. See full details below.
Presidential Memorial Certificates: Certificates are issued upon request to recognize the military service of honorably discharged deceased veterans. See full details below.
The VA operates many cemeteries across the country. Our closest national cemetery in operation is in Bath, NY, about two hours away. A new National Cemetery will be opening in western New York in late 2019 called the Western New York National Cemetery in Pembroke, New York. It will be about 50 minutes from Hamburg, New York. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery but may include in-ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or in a scatter garden.
Contact us or call us at 716-627-2919 to see if you qualify for veteran's burial benefits, and we'll help you every step of the way. To learn more, you can also go to the Veteran's Administration website at www.va.gov or call toll free 800-827-1000.
Other Services to Veterans, Military Personnel, and Their Families
Retired Flags for Veterans
Every veteran is cremated with a “retired” flag. It honors the veteran and provides one more patriotic duty for the flag. When a flag is no longer worthy of display, it is delivered to us and it will be cremated along with a veteran. The flag honors the veteran by being draped across their casket at the time of cremation. It is a fitting tribute to veterans and a patriotic way to “retire” aged flags. This is a complimentary service.
Operation Toy Soldier
Each Christmas, new and unwrapped toys are collected at our funeral home and distributed to the children of active duty and non-active duty military families in the Hamburg-area as part of our Veteran’s Funeral Care program. The program has become a great success and helps to brighten the lives of those families, many of whom are separated at the holidays. Let us know if you'd like to be a part of this amazing program.
Determining Your Specific Veterans Burial Benefits
Veterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty, as well as spouses and dependent children of veterans and active duty service members, may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits. The veteran does not have to pre-decease a spouse or dependent child for them to be eligible.
With certain exceptions, active duty service beginning after Sept. 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and after Oct. 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 consecutive months or the full period of active duty (as in the case of reservists or National Guard members called to active duty for a limited duration). Eligibility is not established by active duty for training in the reserves or National Guard.
Reservists and National Guard members, as well as their spouses and dependent children, are eligible if they were entitled to retired pay at the time of death, or would have been if they were over age 60.
VA national cemetery directors verify eligibility for burial in their cemeteries. A copy of the veterans discharge document that specifies the period(s) of active duty and character of discharge, along with the deceased's death certificate and proof of relationship to the veteran (for eligible family members) are all that are usually needed to determine eligibility.
Surviving spouses of veterans who died on or after Jan.1, 2000, do not lose eligibility for burial in a national cemetery if they remarry. Burial of dependent children is limited to unmarried children under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if a full-time student at an approved educational institution. Unmarried adult children who become physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before age 21, or age 23 if a full-time student, also are eligible for burial.
Contact your nearest national cemetery to determine if you're eligible or visit the website at http://www.cem.va.gov/.
Types of Inscribed Headstones and Markers for Veterans' Graves
Flat markers are available in bronze, granite or marble. Upright headstones come in granite or marble. In national cemeteries, the style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.
Headstones and markers previously provided by the government may be replaced at the governments expense if badly deteriorated, illegible, vandalized or stolen. To check the status of an application for a headstone or marker for a national or state veterans cemetery, call the cemetery. To check the status of one being placed in a private cemetery, call 1-800-697-6947.
Inscription: Headstones and markers must be inscribed with the name of the deceased, branch of service, and year of birth and death. They also may be inscribed with other markings, including an authorized emblem of belief and, space permitting, additional text including military rank; war service such as World War II complete dates of birth and death; military awards; military organizations; civilian or veteran affiliations; and words of endearment.
Headstone for a Private Cemetery
To apply for a headstone or marker for a private cemetery, mail a completed VA Form 40-1330 (available at http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330.pdf), Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private Cemetery or a State Veterans Cemetery, and a copy of the veteran's military discharge document and death certificate to Memorial Programs Service (41A1), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Rd., Quantico, VA 22134-3903. Or fax documents to 1-800-455-7143. (To read PDF documents, you need a PDF viewer. A free PDF Reader is available here.)
For veteran deaths occurring on or after Sept. 11, 2001, the VA will provide a government headstone or marker even if the grave is already marked with a private one. Before ordering, check with the cemetery to ensure that the additional headstone or marker will be accepted. Any placement fee will not be reimbursed by VA.
"In Memory Of" Markers
The VA provides memorial headstones and markers, bearing the inscription In Memory Of as the first line, to memorialize those whose remains were not recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science or cremated and scattered. Eligibility is the same for regular headstones and markers. There is no fee when the In Memory Of marker is placed in a national cemetery. Any fees associated with placement in another cemetery will not be reimbursed by the VA.
Presidential Memorial Certificates Issued to Next of Kin Upon Request
Certificates are issued upon request to recognize the military service of honorably discharged deceased veterans. Next of kin, relatives and friends may request them in person at any VA regional office or by mail: Presidential Memorial Certificates (41A1C), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Rd., Quantico, VA 22143-3903 or fax documents to 202-565-8054.
No form is required and there is no time limit for requesting a certificate(s), but requests should include a copy of the veteran's discharge document and death certificate and clearly indicate to what address the certificate(s) should be sent. Information and a sample certificate can be found at: http://www.cem.va.gov/pmc.asp.
Burial Flags Furnished by VA
VA will furnish a U.S. burial flag for memorialization of:
- Veterans who served during wartime or after Jan. 31, 1955.
- Veterans who were entitled to retired pay for service in the reserves, or would have been entitled if over age 60.
- Members or former members of the Selected Reserve who served their initial obligation, or were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, or died while a member of the Selected Reserve.
Reimbursement of Burial Expenses: The VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veterans death is service-connected. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran's burial expenses may claim reimbursement from the VA.
In some cases, the VA will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-connected veteran to the nearest national cemetery with available grave sites. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims in service-connected death cases.
Burial Allowance: VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled if they weren't receiving military retirement pay. Eligibility also may be established when death occurs in a VA facility, a VA-contracted nursing home or a state veterans nursing home. In non service-connected death cases, claims must be filed within two years after burial or cremation.
Plot Allowance: VA will pay a $300 plot allowance when a veteran is buried in a cemetery not under U.S. government jurisdiction if: the veteran was discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; the veteran was receiving compensation or pension or would have been if they weren't receiving military retired pay; or they died in a VA facility.
The $300 plot allowance may be paid to the state for the cost of a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for veteran burials if the veteran is buried without charge. Burial expenses paid by the deceased's employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.
Military Funeral Honors Provided by DOD Upon Request at Veterans Funerals
Upon request, DOD will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of Taps. A funeral honors detail consists of two or more uniformed members of the armed forces, with at least one member from the deceased's branch of service.
Family members should inform their funeral directors if they want military funeral honors. DOD maintains a toll-free number (1-877-MIL-HONR) for use by funeral directors only to request honors. The VA can help arrange honors for burials at VA national cemeteries. Veterans service organizations or volunteer groups may help provide honors. For more information, visit http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/.