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Southwest Oklahoma MOAA

Southwest Oklahoma MOAA
Southwest Oklahoma MOAA
Thought for the Week...

If you improve a little bit, in one area each day, imagine where you would be in 1, 3 and even 10 years. That time is going to pass anyway. So we might as well fill it with amazing progress and surprise ourselves with a beautiful future.  Abraham Lincoln

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Fort Sill is once again looking for volunteers who would be willing to sponsor a Soldier for a...
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Fort Sill National Cemetery  
Scheduling and Conducting Services

 

Fort Sill National Cemetery, 2648 NE Jake Dunn Road, Elgin, Oklahoma 73538 PH: (580) 492-3200 FAX: (580) 492-3208


Fort Sill National Cemetery will serve approximately 166,000 veterans and family members for the next 100 years. Phase one of the 391-acre facility includes full-casketed gravesites, cremation in-ground sites, columbaria niches, a scattering garden, a memorial section, and a memorial walkway. The cemetery consists of a permanent administration complex, a public information center, and two committal service shelters.

Burial in a national cemetery is open to wartime and peacetime veterans with other than a dishonorable discharge, a veteran’s spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 23 attending school, or dependent(s) with a physical or mental handicap that incurred before attaining the age of 21.

There are no advance reservations at the cemetery. However, for married veteran couples ONLY, an adjacent gravesite can be reserved at the time of scheduling a burial service by the surviving veteran spouse. At the time of need, the NOK should contact the funeral home of their choice and provide them with a copy of the veteran’s discharge document. Types of discharge required for burial in a national cemetery are: General, Honorable, or Under Honorable Conditions.

Funeral homes desiring to schedule a service should contact the Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117 to schedule a burial service in order to guarantee a scheduled time. The cemetery only utilizes one Committal Service Shelter at this time; therefore, we can only accommodate one service per time slot. If the appropriate discharge is not provided, the Scheduling Office agents will assist with the verification process. Requests for eligibility determination when no military discharge documents are available may require 48-hours to conclusively determine eligibility. If eligibility cannot be determined before the tentative scheduled time, the service will have to be rescheduled or other arrangements will need to be made.

There is no charge for burial in a national cemetery. Burial benefits include the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, a concrete liner (for casket burial), headstone or marker, and perpetual care of the gravesite. The Fort Sill National Cemetery uses upright marble headstones and marble niche covers. Headstones will be inscribed with a religious emblem, name of decedent, rank, branch of service, war service, and the date of birth and death. Inscription of endearment is optional if space is permitted. In-ground burial space for cremation is 3’ X 3’. Please advise the office staff if the urn/container is larger than normal size. The columbarium inside niche dimension is 10 1/2 wide, 1’ & 3” high and 1’ 1/8” in depth. We request that you notify our office staff of any special burial requests (i.e., disabled dependent, over-size vault, private vault being used, etc.) being made at the time of the application process.

We recommend all members attending a burial service at the national cemetery arrive in a funeral cortege because of the restricted parking at the cemetery. If a funeral cortege enters the grounds early or late for their scheduled time, they will be placed in a holding status until the shelter becomes available. Due to the expected demand for interment services, we ask that committal services be limited to 30 minutes. (We limit the length of the service so that we have time to pick-up the casket/urn, floral tributes, and prepare the shelter for the next service.) The need to adhere to a scheduled time cannot be stressed enough. We recommend that whatever can be accomplished at the funeral home, church, or reception is done prior to arriving at the cemetery.

Scheduling of military honors, clergy and pallbearers is the responsibility of the funeral director, next-of-kin, or other representative of the deceased. If military honors have not been arranged, the Cemetery Representative upon request by NOK will ensure that TAPs is played, and if needed, will assist funeral representative in folding and presenting flag. Funeral directors are reminded to ensure that a flag accompanies the casket/urn of each deceased veteran.

Four floral arrangements may be left in the shelter to set on the grave; funeral director and/or family members must remove all others. Cemetery grounds are open seven days a week form dawn to dusk for gravesite visitation. Because of safety purposes, entering cemetery grounds during hours of darkness is not allowed.

Upon conclusion of committal service, the funeral director will advise the family and friends to proceed to their vehicles in order for the cemetery representative to call for pick-up (or placement) of the casket/urn. The cemetery representative will remain at the shelter to avoid the casket/urn being unattended. Pursuant to VA policy, opening of the casket for any reason or viewing remains is prohibited on National Cemetery grounds.

A Committal Service (burial only) or a Memorial Service may be scheduled between 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Memorial Services are normally conducted in the event ashes have been scattered, remains have been declared “non-recoverable” or burial has already taken place at the National Cemetery and a service has not been performed. These services are limited to (30) thirty minutes. Memorial markers are available for individuals or groups whose remains are not recovered or identified, buried at sea, donated to science, or whose cremated remains have been scattered. These markers bear an “In Memory of” inscription as their first line and must be placed in a recognized cemetery.

Witnessing of gravesite interments are discouraged because of the inherent safety risks within our burial sections. We understand that there may be isolated cases whereby a family has strong religious beliefs about witnessing an interment, and in such case we ask that the funeral home advise the office staff as soon as they become aware of such a request. If a family persists in witnessing the burial, they may do so from their vehicle from the roadside and may visit the gravesite once it has been dressed. Completion of interment will be done within two hours after remains have been picked-up. We ask your help in trying to discourage these requests as you counsel your families.

Our primary goal is to provide service in a manner reflecting courtesy, compassion, respect, and professionalism. Our efficiency and effectiveness depends a great deal on the cooperation and support of everyone using the services of this national cemetery. We appreciate your patience and welcome your ideas and suggestions as we strive to provide service for the veterans and their families.

You may contact our Administration Office for questions on burial services between the hours of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The office is closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays.

William E. Rhoades

Cemetery Director

 

 

Southwest Oklahoma MOAA

Southwest Oklahoma MOAA
Southwest Oklahoma MOAA
Southwest Oklahoma MOAA

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