Tuesday, July 23, 2024


I will not be providing a formal AAR or Af­ter-Action Report. First, I would like to thank ev­eryone for their efforts to ensure the proper obser­vance of Memorial Day. I wish I had the space to list all the names.

I would like to focus on one of the activities leading up to Memorial Day, which is placement of flags at the individual graves of our Veterans. This is no small task and is accomplished by countless volunteers, whom I would also like to thank, you know who you are! Next year, I hope to have a count of the hundreds, if not thousands, of flags placed at local cemeteries.

The unfortunate truth is that we will end up missing graves because they are not marked as belonging to a Veteran. I am amazed by how many do re­ceive flags because of a few volunteers and their tacit knowledge. This is not sustainable, and I have a few simple solutions.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Na­tional Cemetery Administration offers various types of headstones, markers, and medallions to honor deceased Veterans. These memorials are available for eligible Veterans at no cost, regard­less of the burial location.

The VA provides standard government head­ stones and markers. The options include flat mark­ers and upright headstones, which come with the Veteran’s name, rank, branch of service, date of birth and death, and an emblem of belief, among other customizable inscriptions .

For Veterans who already have a non-govern­ment headstone, the VA offers medallions that can be affixed to the existing markers. These medal­lions come in three sizes—small, medium, and large—and include the word “VETERAN” at the top, along with the branch of service at the bot­tom.

Eligibility extends to Veterans discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. To request a headstone, marker, or medallion, a next of kin, au­thorized representative, or cemetery official must submit VA Form 40-1330 (m – for medallion) to the VA along with appropriate documentation. You may contact your CVSO for application as­sistance.

I am proposing a plan to create a database of all deceased Veterans buried in the county to elim­inate the exclusion of a grave during Memorial Day flag placements. This will be no small task and will require volunteers to assist in the collec­tion process. The database will also allow us to recognize and honor these Veterans year-round.

Brad Anderson and Melissa Crandall are the Lake County Veterans Service Officers and can be reached at 218.834.8326 or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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