The striking and poignant repetition of the silent white sentinals of military cemeteries, standing in ranks are dignified reminders of the millions of people who preserve our freedoms everyday.
There are 131 national military cemeteries in the US. In addition, the Department of Veteran's Affairs takes care of 33 veterans memorials. There are over 100 state veterans cemeteries.
There are two national cemeteries in Colorado, Fort Logan and Fort Lyon, and two state veteran's cemeteries, one in Grand Junction and one in Monte Vista. The newest location, Miramar National Cemetery, is located in San Diego, California. The first burials took place in April 2011.
The standard military marker in the US is an upright marble marker. It is 42 inches long, 13 inches wide and four inches thick. It weighs 230 pounds. For soldiers that served in the Civil War, the historic white military headstones vary slightly from the current standard.
At the top of a standard marker is the usually a simple icon or insignia, most commonly, a latin cross. Under the icon, the soldier's name, birth and death dates, rank, service branch, and citations are listed.
The military has approved 48 symbols for military markers. Most are are associated with the various Christian groups. There are also icons for Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Pagan soliders.
It is also possible for a marker to have a unique icon on their marker. The guidlines for these can be found here. (scroll to the bottom of the page for the guidelines.)
A Veteran who rests in an unmarked grave, regardless of his or her date of death, is eligible for a government issued headstone marker, at no charge. This is true for the unmarked grave of any eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world.
Handily enough, it is easy to find a family member buried in one of the national military cemeteries, as the veteran's administration maintains an online database of their records.