RI Veterans: Did you know? (Veteran graves) – 9 June 22 – John A. Cianci

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

Did you know Veterans are eligible for a FREE plot and no charges will be incurred for the veteran at the Rhode Island Veteran Memorial Cemetery (RIVMC) ?

Did you know eligible spouses and eligible dependent children may be buried with the eligible veteran at the Rhode Island Veteran Memorial Cemetery, and if the eligible spouse or dependent child passes before the Veteran, he or she could be buried first?

Did you know a Veteran can apply for his or her entitlement to a plot at the Rhode Island Veteran Memorial Veteran Cemetery while living and receive a certificate of eligibility?

Did you know the application for the RIVMC can be mailed by US mail, hand delivered, emailed, or completed online at under the “Memorial Services” section.

Eligible Veterans Entitled to Free Headstone or Marker

While planning a burial for a Veteran or Reservist, you can apply for certain memorial items to honor their military service. An eligible spouse or other family member buried in a national cemetery, or certain other Veterans or military cemeteries, may also qualify for a headstone or marker to identify the place of burial.

Last week’s column  included Veteran’s eligibility and information on how to obtain a FREE medallion 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.

This week we will cover the types of headstones and or grave marker eligible veterans are entitled to. 

First and most important, who can be honored with a headstone, grave marker, or niche marker. Eligibility includes veterans and active-duty members, National Guard and or Reservists, Spouses, and other family members.

More information from the VA website on eligibility:

Who is Eligible?

Veterans and active-duty members

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

Enlisted personnel who served before September 7, 1980, and officers who served before October 16, 1981.

At least one of these must be true:

1.    The Veteran or service member died on or after November 1, 1990, and their grave is currently marked with a privately purchased headstone, or

2.    The Veteran or service member was buried in an unmarked grave, anywhere in the world

Note: If the Veteran or service member served before World War I, we require detailed documents, like muster rolls, extracts from state files, or the military or state organization where they served.

Enlisted personnel who served after September 7, 1980, and officers who served after October 16, 1981

At least one of these must be true:

1.    The Veteran or service member died on or after November 1, 1990, and their grave is currently marked with a privately purchased headstone, or

2.    The Veteran or service member was buried in an unmarked grave, anywhere in the world

And at least one of these must also be true:

1.    The Veteran or service member served for a minimum of 24 months of continuous active duty, or

2.    The Veteran or service member died while serving on active duty

Note: Hmong individuals who were living in the U.S. when they died are eligible if they were naturalized under the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act of 2000 and died on or after March 23, 2018.

National Guard and Reservist

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

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

1.    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

2.    The National Guard member served in a federal status and for the period of time they were called to serve


At least one of these must be true:

1.    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

2.    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.

Spouses and family members

An eligible spouse or other family member buried in a national cemetery, state or tribal Veterans cemetery, military post cemetery, or military base cemetery may be eligible for a headstone or marker. They may still be eligible even if they die before the Veteran.

Spouses and family members buried in a private cemetery aren’t eligible for these memorial items.

In most cases, we provide one gravesite and a single headstone for all eligible family members. When 2 Veterans are married, we’ll provide 2 side-by-side gravesites and 2 headstones or markers if requested.

According to the VA website, below are the types of headstones and grave markers provided:

Upright Headstones: Granite or Marble
The upright granite and upright marble headstones are 42 inches long, 13 inches wide and 4 inches thick. Weight is approximately 230 pounds. Variations may occur in stone color; the marble may contain light to moderate veining.

Upright Marble Headstone

Flat Grave Markers: Granite or Marble
The flat granite and flat marble grave markers are 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 4 inches thick. Weight is approximately 130 pounds. Variations may occur in stone color; the marble may contain light to moderate veining.

Flat Granite Grave Marker

Flat Grave Marker: Bronze
The flat bronze grave marker is 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, with 3/4 inch rise. Weight is approximately 18 pounds. Anchor bolts, nuts and washers for fastening to a base are furnished with the marker. The government does not furnish a base.

Flat Bronze Grave Marker

Niche Marker: Bronze
The niche marker is 8 1/2 inches long, 5 1/2 inches wide, with 7/16 inch rise. Weight is approximately 3 pounds. Mounting bolts and washers are furnished with the marker.Bronze Niche Marker


Applying for a memorial item

Can I apply for one of these memorial items?

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

How do I apply for a memorial item?

You can apply for a memorial item online, by mail, or by fax.

Fill out an application

For a headstone, grave marker, or niche marker, fill out the Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker (VA Form 40-1330).
Get VA Form 40-1330 to download

Note: If this is your second request, or if you’re requesting a replacement because of a mistake with the inscription or a damaged headstone or marker, be sure to explain this in block 27 of the form.

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.

Review our list of military discharge documents

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.

More information about headstones and markers

Can I choose the type of headstone or marker?

What information goes on the headstone or marker, and who provides it?

When will the headstone or marker I requested arrive, and who sets it?

Does VA provide a headstone or marker if remains aren’t available?

Can 2 Veterans who are married get separate headstones?

Can I request a replacement headstone?

In conclusion, now you know who is eligible for a headstone or marker and how to apply for a free headstone or marker.

Next week will detail other FREE memorial items that can be obtained for a deceased veteran and details on discounts and or FREE plots offered for a veteran in private cemeteries. 


RI Veterans: Did you know?” Sponsor – Precision Home Lending



June 11, 2022 – Aspen Dental to provide free dental care to military veterans nationwide. According to an Aspen Dental news release in May 2922, Aspen 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 14, 2022 – Tuesday Northern Rhode Island Coffee House, 9-12pm, 111 Chapel Street, Harrisville, RI (Berard-Desjarlais American Legion Post #88). Free coffee and refreshments. Veteran Service Officer for the Town of Burrillville, Linda D’Andrea Peck and the Italian American War Veterans, John A Cianci will be available to assist any veteran and or family member with understanding and applying for any federal and or state benefit he or she could be entitled to. NO APPOINTMENT NEEDED. 

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. CEREMONY IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – LOCATION: SW corner of Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street NW.

More information,

August 6 – 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 to: 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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