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RI Veterans: Did you know? (grave markers…) 2 June 22 – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Did you know deceased veterans buried at private or municipal cemeteries are eligible for FREE headstones, markers, and medallions for grave from the Veterans Administration? 

Government Provides Free Medallions for Eligible Veterans Buried in Private and Municipal Cemeteries

We start off with a question from one of our readers –

My Dad’s grave, a retired member of the Rhode Island National Guard who was collecting retirement pay at time of his death in 2020, had no identification he was a veteran. Subsequently, no U.S flag is placed at his grave annually. Is he eligible for any type or veteran marker? If yes, how does the family obtain one? Jim F. Providence RI

According to the VA, Jim, your dad is eligible as a National Guard or Reservist for a medallion which can be placed on a privately purchased headstone or marker.

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides two types of medallions, by request, to be affixed to an existing, privately purchased headstone or marker to signify the deceased’s status as a Veteran or Veteran/Servicemember who is also a Medal of Honor recipient.

These devices are furnished in lieu of a traditional government headstone or grave marker for those Veterans who served on or after April 6, 1917, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker.

For a medallion to be placed on a privately purchased headstone or marker, fill out the Claim for Government Medallion for Placement in a Private Cemetery (VA Form 40-1330M).Get VA Form 40-1330M to download

These medallions are durable and can be easily affixed to privately purchased headstones by anyone. More information from the VA website, on medallions:

The aforementioned link to the VA website, also provides a link for a video, which provides instructions on how to install a medallion. Upon receipt of the medallion, the requester will receive a kit to install the medallion. 

Who is Eligible for A Medallion:

1.    Veteran must be buried in a private or municipal cemetery. 

2.    Eligibility is based on one of the following be true:

-A Veteran who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge or a service member who died while on active duty may be eligible for a medallion if they meet these requirements specific to when they served.

-Officers who served before October 16, 1981, and enlisted personnel who served before September 7, 1980

Both of these must be true:

  • The Veteran or service member served for at least 1 day of active duty on or after April 6, 1917, and
  • The Veteran or service member is buried in a private cemetery marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker

Officers who served after October 16, 1981, and enlisted personnel who served after September 7, 1980

Both of these must be true:

  • The Veteran or service member served for a minimum of 24 months of continuous active duty, and
  • The Veteran or service member is buried in a private cemetery marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker

 3.  A National Guard member or Reservist may be eligible for a medallion if they meet any of these requirements specific to their type of service.

*Enlisted National Guard members, at least one of these must be true:

  • The National Guard member was entitled to retirement pay at their time of death (or would have been entitled if they were over 60 years old), or
  • The National Guard member served in a federal status and for the period of time they were called to serve

VETTIP – Example, members of the 119th Military Police Company who were activated for Operation Desert Shield/Storm and served less than 120 days, however, completed the federal service time for the period they were called to serve. 


At least one of these must be true:

  • The Reservist was entitled to retirement pay at their time of death (or would have been entitled if they were over 60 years old), or
  • The Reservist was called to active duty for purposes other than training

Note: National Guard members or Reservists who have only limited active-duty service for training aren’t eligible in most cases. They may be eligible in certain situations, such as if they died during or as the result of the training.

How to request a medallion:

From the VA website, in most cases, you can apply for one of these memorial items if you’re representing the deceased Veteran, service member, or family member in any of these relationships or professional roles.

One of these must describe your relationship to the deceased:

  • A family member, or
  • A personal representative (someone who officially represents the deceased), or
  • A representative of an accredited Veterans Service Organization, or
  • An employee of a state or local government whose official responsibilities include serving Veterans, or
  • Any person who’s legally responsible for making arrangements for unclaimed remains or for details having to do with the deceased’s interment or memorialization, or
  • Any individual representing the deceased, if the Veteran’s service ended before April 6, 1917

You must be a member of the deceased’s family to apply for a memorial item if any of these descriptions is true:

  • The deceased’s remains haven’t been recovered or identified, or
  • The deceased’s remains were buried at sea, or
  • The deceased’s remains were donated to science, or
  • The deceased’s remains were cremated and scattered

VETTIP – The Italian American War Veterans of the US, can assist and request medallion in obtaining a medallion, contact ITAM at or (401) 677-9838. 

For a medallion to be placed on a privately purchased headstone or marker, fill out the Claim for Government Medallion for Placement in a Private Cemetery (VA Form 40-1330M).
Get VA Form 40-1330M to download

Send the application and supporting documents

You can send your application and documents in any of these ways:


Submit your application and supporting documents online using the direct upload tool through Access VA.

From the Access VA home page, select the button that describes you. Then select the direct upload option. If it’s your first time signing into this tool, you’ll need to register first. After you’ve registered, you can upload your application and documents online.

Use the direct upload tool through Access VA

By mail

Mail your application, along with a copy of the Veteran’s DD214 or other discharge documents to this address:

NCA FP Evidence Intake Center
PO Box 5237
Janesville, WI  53547

Note: Please don’t send original documents since we can’t return them to you.

By fax

You can also fax your application to 800-455-7143.

If you need help, please call us at 800-697-6947. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.

Next week column will detail how to obtain free headstones and markers for veterans buried and or will be buried at private or municipal cemeteries. 


June 4th, from 0700-1300, Vet Surf will be hosting their first Surfing event of the year at Narragansett Town Beach. – This event is 100% Free and all Equipment is provided by the Vet Surf Team. No Experience is Necessary! If you are interested in learning to surf with your fellow Service Members/Veterans, please go to and select the Participants tab to sign up! If you have any questions, you can reach me at or via phone at (401) 739-0167.

June 11, 2022, Aspen Dental to provide free dental care to military veterans nationwide.

According to an Aspen Dental news release in May 2922Aspen Dental announced its annual Day of Service event – which provides free care to military veterans across the country – will be held on Saturday, June 11. Now in its eighth year, nearly 500 Aspen Dental locations will open their doors on the company’s annual Day of Service to provide much-needed dental care for United States military veterans at no cost to honor their service. Veterans can schedule an appointment by calling 1-844-277-3646 (1-844-ASPENHMM) to find a participating Aspen Dental office in their community and schedule an appointment. Advance appointments are required.

June 18, 2022,  3rd Annual Calling All Veterans, Saturday 10:00am-2:00PM, 2111 Plainfield Pike, rain or shine. The annual event is an opportunity for the more than 45,000 Veterans in Rhode Island to receive information on resources and benefits from organizations that empower independent aging for themselves, their spouses, or aging parents. In addition, the Italian American War Veterans of the United States , CAR4VET and Town of Burrillville Veteran Service Officer, Linda D’Andrea Peck will have a veteran resource table with information of state and federal veteran benefits. 

July 14, 2022, Thursday, Washington DC, at 10 AM, Groundbreaking Ceremony: NATIONAL DESERT STORM AND DESERT SHIELD MEMORIAL 

It is the distinct honor of the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to announce the details for the Ceremonial Groundbreaking for the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial –

DATE: Thursday, July 14, 2022, at 10 am ET
LOCATION: SW corner of Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street NW 

More information,

August 6th, 1st Annual Tight Lines for VETS Fishing Trip. Free Fishing Trip for combat veterans. I have been pointed in your direction with regards to an event that I am sponsoring. More information regarding the event can be found on Facebook @tightlinesforvet or by emailing Stephen,


AARP offers a free career center for veterans – The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage,  job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment. 

Providence Vet Center 

Below are all of the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time!

*** All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at ***

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May)

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Stress Management– Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 p.



Applebee’s – Military Discount … With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2028

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty . Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain.  Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID


Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021

Bass Pro Shops –  Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount. “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at select locations listed below:

Tioque Ave, Coventry RI

Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI

Park Ave, Cranston RI

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get –

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21.


If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward ,  the business’s name , location, and military and veteran discount offered.

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci,, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)


To read all columns in this series go to:

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.

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