Eligibility for interment in Arlington National Cemetery
The Army has announced its recommendations for eligibility changes at Arlington National Cemetery – changes which would reduce those eligible for below-ground burials but still offer above-ground inurnment of cremated remains for many veterans.
In addition to preserving 1,000 gravesites for current and future Medal of Honor recipients, the proposed revised criteria for those who honorably serve the nation are as follows:
For below-ground interment:
- Killed in Action, to include repatriated remains of service members
- Award recipients of the Silver Star and above who also served in combat
- Recipients of the Purple Heart
- Combat-related service deaths while conducting uniquely military activities
- Former Prisoners of War
- Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States
- Veterans with combat service who also served out of uniform as a government official and made significant contributions to the nation's security at the highest levels of public service.
For above-ground inurnment:
- World War II-era veterans, to include legislated active-duty designees
- Retirees from the armed forces who are eligible to receive retired pay but are not otherwise eligible for interment
- Veterans who have served a minimum of two years on active duty and who have served in combat
- Veterans without combat service who also served out of uniform as a government oﬃcial and made signiﬁcant contributions to the nation’s security at the highest levels of public service
“The Army’s decision to restrict retirees from in-ground interment may be a concern for those whose end-of-life plans included this traditional burial at Arlington,” Atkins said. “While the changes do accommodate above-ground inurnment, we will need to assess the impact to all previously eligible servicemembers and take advantage of the public comment period under the Federal Registry to share the results of that assessment.”
According to Arlington officials, a federal rule can take up to nine months before being enacted and will include a public comment period, in which any concerns and questions would be addressed. Once the final rule, with any potential changes, is published in the Federal Registry, there will be an “as of” effective date. This will not affect any planned burials which are in the queue at that time.
Updated: April 15, 2021
Curator: Ed Moore