Sends Letter to VA Secretary Following Removal of Honorary Medallions from Veterans’ Headstones
U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough following reports that the VA has directed medallions honoring World War II veterans who served in the First Special Service Forces (FSSF) to be removed from headstones in VA cemeteries across Montana.
“For years, the Montanans who served in the FSSF and were buried at VA cemeteries in Montana were remembered for their special service with a medallion located on their headstone. However, now, the NCA – citing ‘long standing’ official policy that medallions are prohibited on VA purchased headstones – has ordered the removal of these symbolic medallions. The reasoning for this, as stated by the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) directive, is that such medallions would prevent preserving the appearance and facilitating the maintenance of said headstones. I, like many of Montana’s veterans and their families, find it outrageous that a small medallion would in any way diminish the appearance of a headstone or prevent maintenance. The application of this NCA directive reeks of bureaucratic excess that does nothing but cause more issues than it fixes.
“Thus, I request that you rescind the current directive requiring the removal of these medallions. Additionally, in order to provide transparency to the many veterans demanding answers as to why service members headstones were defaced, I request that the National Cemetery Administration provide a briefing to Congress as to why this directive was given, why it appears to be selectively enforced, and what concrete steps will be taken to ensure such action does not occur again. Thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to your prompt response,” Daines wrote.
Read the full letter Daines sent to VA Secretary McDonough HERE.
See more of Daines’ work to support Montana veterans HERE.