Memorial Sections

Holiday wreaths on gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery's memorial section

In the absence of remains, Arlington National Cemetery offers memorialization in specially designated memorial areas. Under federal regulations (32 CFR § 553.16), a memorial marker may be placed at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the memory of service members or veterans who are otherwise eligible for interment or inurnment and:  

  • Who are missing in action;
  • Whose remains have not been recovered or identified;
  • Whose remains were buried at sea, whether by the member's or veteran's own choice or otherwise;
  • Whose remains were donated to science; 
  • Whose remains were cremated and the cremated remains scattered without interment or inurnment of any portion of those remains. 

The one-gravesite-per-family policy applies to memorialization:

  • When the remains of a primarily eligible person are unavailable for one of the above reasons, and a derivatively eligible person (e.g., a dependent) is already interred or inurned at Arlington National Cemetery, the primarily eligible person may be memorialized only on the existing headstone or a replacement headstone, ordered with a new inscription. 
  • When a memorial marker for a primarily eligible person is already in place, and a derivatively eligible person (e.g., a dependent) is subsequently interred or inurned at Arlington National Cemetery, an inscription memorializing the primarily eligible person will be placed on the new headstone or niche cover. The memorial marker will then be removed from the memorial area. 

Policies for memorial markers are the same as those for interments or inurnments. The U.S. government will provide, at no cost to the estate of the deceased, an upright, white marble memorial marker. Arlington National Cemetery staff will place the order, which goes to the National Cemetery Administration (part of the Department of Veterans Affairs). The order will include the appropriate inscription and choice of an optional emblem of belief. The next of kin will review the proposed marker text template prior to the date of placement, and the template will be finalized with cemetery staff. Private markers are no longer authorized. Please see our Headstones and Niche Covers page for more information. 

To request a memorial marker, call 1-877-907-8585. 

For policies on commemorative monuments, please click here