BONNEY WATSON is honored to have served families of Seattle-area veterans for nearly six generations. Our funeral directors will help you file VA paperwork and notification, apply for benefits, order military honors, and arrange for burial in one of our dedicated veteran gardens at Washington Memorial, Tahoma National Cemetery, or the cemetery of your choice.
BONNEY WATSON’s Veterans Advisory Board
More than 40 years ago, a group of people from various veterans associations volunteered their time to serve on BONNEY WATSON’s Veterans Advisory Board. This group is still going strong, staying current on veterans’ issues and planning ceremonies to honor service men and women throughout the year, including events on Memorial Day and National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
Veterans interested in serving on BONNEY WATSON’s Veterans Advisory Board should contact us at (206) 242-1787 or by email at SeaTac@BonneyWatson.com.
Veterans Administration Burial Reimbursements
The Veterans Administration (VA) provides many benefits and services to veterans throughout Washington State. While most VA burial benefits are the same regardless of whether the service member or veteran died on active duty or later in life, some variance does exist. Visit the VA website to see a list of terms and eligibility requirements specific to each situation or contact your BONNEY WATSON funeral director for a full explanation of burial benefits.
In general, veterans are eligible for:
- Burial in a national cemetery (for veterans, spouses and dependent children)
- $2,000 burial allowance for veterans who die while on active duty or because of a service-connected injury
- $300 burial allowance for all other eligible veterans
These benefits are not paid automatically. Your BONNEY WATSON funeral director will help you file the necessary paperwork.
Burial at Washington Memorial
BONNEY WATSON’s Washington Memorial cemetery offers a complete range of funeral and burial benefits for veterans and their families, including:
- Two cemetery gardens designed specifically for veterans
- Options for both in-ground burial and above-ground urn placements
Washington Memorial allows for surviving family members and extended relatives to make arrangements for placement next to a veteran. Conversely, burial in a national cemetery is limited only to veterans, their spouses and dependent children.
POW/MIA Living Memorial Plaza
Washington Memorial is home to the POW/MIA Living Memorial Plaza. The unique monument features a 14-ton granite pyramid standing 10 feet tall. The adjacent Freedom Shrine displays 28 historical American documents photographically reproduced on aluminum. The Plaza was developed to remind all visitors that the freedoms Americans enjoy today are, in essence, a gift from the past: the product of idealism, determination and the sacrifice of vast numbers of courageous men and women who served our country.
Each year in September, Washington State hosts a POW/MIA Recognition Day, which includes a ceremony at Washington Memorial’s Living Memorial Plaza.
Burial with Military Honors
Families may request a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the playing of “Taps” along with the folding and presentation of the United States flag. In some cases, BONNEY WATSON can arrange for a 21-gun salute and military pall bearers.
Burial Flags from the VA
The VA provides a United States flag to drape over the casket of a veteran or person entitled to retired military pay. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next of kin or a close associate. The VA will also issue a flag on behalf of a service member who was missing in action and later presumed dead.
Headstones and Markers from the VA
VA provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world as well. Twenty-year reservists without active duty service are eligible for a headstone or marker if they are entitled to military retired pay at the time of death.
Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items that may be inscribed at VA expense include:
- Military grade, rank or rate
- War service such as World War II
- Months and days of birth and death
- An emblem reflecting one’s beliefs
- Valor awards
- Purple Heart
Additional items may be inscribed at private expense.
To apply for a headstone marker from the VA, complete Form 40-1330 and forward it to Director, Office of Memorial Programs (403A), National Cemetery System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington DC 20420. Your BONNEY WATSON funeral director can help you make these arrangements.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
The Presidential Memorial Certificate is a parchment certificate with a calligraphic inscription expressing the nation’s recognition of the veteran’s service. The veteran’s name is inscribed, and the certificate bears the signature of the President.
- Certificates are issued in the name of honorably discharged, deceased veterans.
- Eligible recipients include next of kin, other relatives and friends.
- The award of a certificate to one eligible recipient does not preclude certificates to other eligible recipients.
- The veteran may have died at any time in the past.
The next of kin may request a certificate from the VA regional office. Requests should be accompanied by a document such as discharge papers to substantiate honorable service. Ask your BONNEY WATSON funeral director for application assistance.
On Memorial Day weekend, more than 100 volunteers from the community will place flags on 3,000+ veterans’ graves at BONNEY WATSON’s Washington Memorial cemetery. This simple but profound gesture helps us pay tribute to all veterans who served in our armed forces.
Our annual ceremony begins at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day at Washington Memorial’s POW/MIA Living Memorial Plaza. This well-attended event is open to the public and features speakers from various veterans and youth organizations, a ceremonial dove release, and performances by the Keith Highlanders Pipe Band.