Lloyd Williams Post 41 believes that every deceased veteran deserves a proper grave marker. The post is committed to assisting families of veterans to obtain government-provided military markers and install these markers at no charge to the families. This is a small way for the members of Post 41 to pay their final respects to a deceased veteran.
With the establishment of national cemeteries in 1862, standard markers and headstones were provided for each grave. Until 1920, only veterans who were buried in national cemeteries were eligible for a government-provided marker. After World War I, all eligible members of the armed forces and veterans interred in private cemeteries were eligible for a free government-provided grave marker. However, the family of the deceased veteran was and still is responsible for the installation of the marker or headstone.
VA provides two types of grave markers to eligible veterans. One type is for in-ground installation and is only available for unmarked graves. This type includes both upright and flat markers. The other type, for graves that already have a tombstone, is a bronze medallion that is affixed to the existing tombstone.
In the late 1940s, with the deaths of many World War I veterans, Post 41 began ordering and installing the grave markers for free on the graves of local veterans. The post works with funeral homes, cemeteries and the families of deceased veterans to acquire the grave markers from VA. Members of the post make the concrete bases for the markers. Family members are invited to attend the installation ceremony, which includes placing the marker on the grave, offering a prayer for the departed, placing a U.S. flag on the grave and presenting a military hand salute to the veteran.
In the local cemeteries that have been cataloged, over 1,500 military markers have been installed on the graves of veterans. Almost all of these were installed by Post 41 members. Since commercial monument companies currently charge about $500 to install one of the markers, Post 41 has conservatively saved veterans’ families about three-quarters of a million dollars. It is believed that Post 41 is the only veterans’ group that currently provides this free service.