All Massachusetts veterans and service members are entitled to certain honors and dignified burials. The Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) has the resources veterans and family members need to ensure the Commonwealth’s veterans receive the respect they deserve. Cemeteries, Medals, and the accessibility of Military Records are some of the services DVS offers to those who have returned from active duty.
Massachusetts has three veterans’ cemeteries, including the national cemetery in Borne. Both Winchendon and Agawam, state cemeteries, conduct veteran interment services at no cost to the family, as well as provide a dignified resting place for veterans and their family members. The state cemeteries also host events each year to honor those laid to rest, including Wreaths Across America, and annual Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day services.
Depending on when a veteran served, they may be entitled to certain medals from the Commonwealth. The Korean Defense Service Medal is a service medal to give special recognition for the sacrifices and contributions made by Massachusetts service members who have served, or are serving, in the Republic of Korea. In order to get authorization for medals earned, reference the forms given at the time of discharge. Veterans can also request replacement medals for those that have been lost, stolen, or destroyed.
Veterans and family members can request copies of military records through the Military War Records Office in Massachusetts, or the National Personnel Records Center. The Military War Records Office has since converted all records to electronic form for easy accessibility. Funeral directors and veterans’ service officers can request to access restricted online military records online. Those veterans looking to change their military records or discharge rating must fill out a form, which can be found on the DVS website. Each service branch has their own review board with the authority to modify military records.
The DVS website, under the Cemeteries and Honors tab, has more information pertaining to these benefits, including cemetery eligibility, how to order a headstone for a private cemetery, and the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty. Information on the MA Vietnam memorial, a list of Massachusetts’ fallen service members, and necessary paperwork for the War Memorial Grant Program can also be found in this section of the website.
Questions? Tweet us at @MassDVS on Twitter, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/MassDVS
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