The government does provide stones for veterans. This includes replacement stones also!!!!
Another great source of information on this would be the service officer at your local veteran organization. VVA, VFW, American Legion, DAV etc.
Burial Expenses. You have up to 2 years to claim a burial allowance.
Many do not know this. Get that info here:
Military funerals are now provided for any veteran who was honorably discharged.
Upon the family's request, the law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons with at least one a member of the veteran's parent service of the Armed Forces. The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veterans' family. Veterans organizations may assist in the provision of military funeral honors. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by the funeral home.
Questions or comments concerning the DOD military funeral honors program may be sent to the address listed below. A military funeral honors web site is located at www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil.
Another great site for info on grave preservation is:
Part of their mission statement reads:
"Saving Graves is strongly committed to the protection of human burial sites from unauthorized and unwarranted disturbance, by man or nature. We believe that the willful desecration or destruction of human burial sites is unacceptable in a civilized society. It is our objective to highlight their importance and promote an attitude or reverence and respect, while encouraging further preservation of these unique historical resources. We are not asking private land owners to do anything for the maintenance of the cemetery, nor are we suggesting unrestricted access to their private land. We are only asking private property owners to allow access at 'reasonable times' to legitimate groups to do the repairs and upkeep that is necessary, and to allow descendants and other interested parties the opportunity to visit the graves."
Kentucky does have their own link at this site also. Here you will find pending legislation and facts on burial in Ky.
Endangered Ky cemeteries are listed here also.
Cleaning & Reading Tombstones
by Dan Maxson
Cleaning and reading tombstones is possibly the most controversial topic in our field of genealogy. With this article, the author hopes to shed some light on the topic and allow the reader to determine some does and don’ts based on some evidence from both geology and chemistry. According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals, granite, the most common material for modern tomb stones, has an average hardness of 6.5. Quartz, which makes up about 35% of granite, has a hardness of 7.0. Feldspar, which makes up about 45% of quartz, has a hardness of 6.0. The remainder of granite can be any of several minerals. Marble, another tombstone material, has a hardness of 3.0. Sandstone is made up of quartz granules (sand) and a cementing agent calcite, or iron minerals. Calcite has a hardness of 3.0 and the iron minerals have a hardness of 4-6. The hardness of steel is generally considered to be about 6.5, but can vary with composition and temper. A knife blade has a hardness of 5.5-6, while a file has a hardness of seven. A copper penny has a hardness of three. Any higher numbered hardness would scratch any lower numbered hardness. Slate is softer than a knife blade. From this, it can be seen that quartz would scratch the steel, but that feldspar would be scratched by a saw blade or a file. Therefore, in my opinion, items such as knives, saws, wire brushes, or car keys should never be used to clean a tombstone. Rubbing a penny on a soft sandstone could damage the stone, or would leave an ugly streak on it.
For cleaning, I suggest water and the use of a bristle brush. This will do minimal if any damage to the much harder stone. True, if you work on stone long enough with a bristle brush, you might shine the stone a very small amount by the time you completely wear the brush out. The removal of the lichen is a great way to help preserve the stone -- they chemically and physically damage the stone. Many different things have been suggested for making the tombstone easier to read. One individual rubs the stone with fresh dirt. The sand in the dirt would scratch any of the stones. Another person uses chalk. Those of you in the more mature age groups can remember scratches on the slate blackboards from impurities in the chalk. Some have advocated the use of dream whip. This author can think of no substance in Dream Whip that would harm the stone. Many people have objected to the use of shaving crème, which is what I use. I cannot find any possible way that shaving creme can damage a stone. You men have used it and know that it does not contain abrasives that will damage your skin; so, it will not wear the stone away. The big objection that I have heard is that shaving creme is acid and will eat the stone away. If you read the label, you will note that it does contain stearic acid.
The true acidity of any substance can be determined by measuring the H ion concentration in the substance. This is also known as pH. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral, less than 7.0 is acid, and more than 7.0 is basic. The cases that I am aware of, shaving creme ranged between 7.0 and 7.5 in pH. This says that there are no free H ions to react as an acid in shaving creme. Stearic acid is a long chain fatty acid. It is quite common in beef fat, but is in the triglyceride form. There are 18 carbons in the chain making up the acid. Stearic acid is nearly insoluble in water and is quite unreactive, except with heat, a catalyst, or with strong bases such as sodium hydroxide (lye). The technique that I suggest using shaving crème is:
Clean the stone.
Apply a bead of shaving crème at the bottom of the lettering.
Wipe the crème upward with stiff cardboard.
Wipe the excess crème off with a squeegee.
Read and/or photograph the stone.
Rinse the stone off with water.
The main reason that I rinse the stone is for esthetic reasons. People will feel better about it. If you leave the shaving crème, the next rain will wash it off and it will help neutralize the acid rain or soil to a small degree. I use a pump up garden sprayer for rinsing the stones. If you are on a genealogy trip, I would also suggest that you may want to carry a pair of pruning shears to remove brush that may be growing near a stone. If a stone has sunken into the ground, I cut the sod back from the stone with a pocket knife and remove the sod by hand to prevent damaging the stone with the knife. Some of you might also want a pair of gardening gloves.
It is hoped that the above information will help you make a wise choice in your method of cleaning and reading tombstones. Above all, please do not use any abrasive materials such as steel or rocks on the stone. The rest is your choice. Neither the author nor EMGS is advising you to use this method, just make a wise choice. Personally I would check with any accredited stone mason for guidance.
**More information on this subject is located at the Association of Gravestone Studies:
Many great links here also.