TITLE 38 - US CODE - CHAPTER 24 - NATIONAL CEMETERIES AND MEMORIALS

38 USC 2400 - Establishment of National Cemetery Administration; composition of Administration

(a) There shall be within the Department a National Cemetery Administration responsible for the interment of deceased servicemembers and veterans. The National Cemetery Administration shall be headed by the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, who shall perform such functions as may be assigned by the Secretary.
(b) The national cemeteries and other facilities under the control of the National Cemetery Administration shall consist of
(1) national cemeteries transferred from the Department of the Army to the Veterans Administration by the National Cemeteries Act of 1973;
(2) cemeteries under the jurisdiction of the Veterans Administration on the date of enactment of this chapter; and

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(3) any other cemetery, memorial, or monument transferred to the Veterans Administration by the National Cemeteries Act of 1973, or later acquired or developed by the Secretary.

38 USC 2401 - Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials

There shall be appointed by the Secretary an Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials. The Secretary shall advise and consult with the Committee from time to time with respect to the administration of the cemeteries for which the Secretary is responsible, and with respect to the selection of cemetery sites, the erection of appropriate memorials, and the adequacy of Federal burial benefits. The Committee shall make periodic reports and recommendations to the Secretary and to Congress.

38 USC 2402 - Persons eligible for interment in national cemeteries

Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe and subject to the provisions of section 6105 of this title, the remains of the following persons may be buried in any open national cemetery under the control of the National Cemetery Administration:
(1) Any veteran (which for the purposes of this chapter includes a person who died in the active military, naval, or air service).
(2) Any member of a Reserve component of the Armed Forces, and any member of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, whose death occurs under honorable conditions while such member is hospitalized or undergoing treatment, at the expense of the United States, for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while such member is performing active duty for training, inactive duty training, or undergoing that hospitalization or treatment at the expense of the United States.
(3) Any member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps of the Army, Navy, or Air Force whose death occurs under honorable conditions while such member is
(A) attending an authorized training camp or on an authorized practice cruise;
(B) performing authorized travel to or from that camp or cruise; or
(C) hospitalized or undergoing treatment, at the expense of the United States, for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while such member is
(i) attending that camp or on that cruise;
(ii) performing that travel; or
(iii) undergoing that hospitalization or treatment at the expense of the United States.
(4) Any citizen of the United States who, during any war in which the United States is or has been engaged, served in the armed forces of any government allied with the United States during that war, and whose last such service terminated honorably.
(5) The spouse, surviving spouse (which for purposes of this chapter includes a surviving spouse who had a subsequent remarriage), minor child (which for purposes of this chapter includes a child under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution), and, in the discretion of the Secretary, unmarried adult child of any of the persons listed in paragraphs (1) through (4) and paragraph (7).
(6) Such other persons or classes of persons as may be designated by the Secretary.
(7) Any person who at the time of death was entitled to retired pay under chapter 1223 of title 10 or would have been entitled to retired pay under that chapter but for the fact that the person was under 60 years of age.
(8) Any individual whose service is described in subsection (a) or (b) of section 107 of this title if such individual at the time of death
(A) was a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States; and
(B) resided in the United States.

38 USC 2403 - Memorial areas

(a) The Secretary shall set aside, when available, suitable areas in national cemeteries to honor the memory of members of the Armed Forces and veterans
(1) who are missing in action;
(2) whose remains have not been recovered or identified;
(3) whose remains were buried at sea, whether by the members or veterans own choice or otherwise;
(4) whose remains were donated to science; or
(5) whose remains were cremated and the ashes scattered without interment of any portion of the ashes.
(b) Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, group memorials may be placed to honor the memory of groups of individuals referred to in subsection (a), and appropriate memorial headstones and markers may be placed to honor the memory of individuals referred to in subsection (a) and section 2306 (b) of this title.
(c) All national and other veterans cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration shall be considered national shrines as a tribute to our gallant dead and, notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the Secretary is hereby authorized to permit appropriate officials to fly the flag of the United States of America at such cemeteries twenty-four hours each day.

38 USC 2404 - Administration

(a) The Secretary is authorized to make all rules and regulations which are necessary or appropriate to carry out the provisions of this chapter, and may designate those cemeteries which are considered to be national cemeteries.
(b) In conjunction with the development and administration of cemeteries for which the Secretary is responsible, the Secretary shall provide all necessary facilities including, as necessary, superintendents lodges, chapels, crypts, mausoleums, and columbaria.
(c) 
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), each grave in a national cemetery shall be marked with an appropriate marker. Such marker shall bear the name of the person buried, the number of the grave, and such other information as the Secretary shall by regulation prescribe.
(2) The grave markers referred to in paragraph (1) shall be upright for interments that occur on or after January 1, 1987, except that
(A) in the case of any cemetery scheduled to be closed by September 30, 1991, as indicated in the documents submitted by the Administrator of Veterans Affairs to the Congress in justification for the amounts included for Veterans Administration programs in the Presidents Budget for fiscal year 1987, the Secretary may provide for flat grave markers;
(B) in the case of any cemetery with a section which has flat markers on October 28, 1986, the Secretary may continue to provide for flat grave markers in such section;
(C) in the case of any cemetery located on the grounds of or adjacent to a Department health-care facility, the Secretary may provide for flat grave markers; and
(D) in the case of grave sites of cremated remains that are interred in the ground, the Secretary may provide for flat grave markers.
(d) There shall be kept in each national cemetery, and at the main office of the Department, a register of burials in each cemetery setting forth the name of each person buried in the cemetery, the number of the grave in which the veteran is buried, and such other information as the Secretary by regulation may prescribe.
(e) In carrying out the Secretarys responsibilities under this chapter, the Secretary may contract with responsible persons, firms, or corporations for the care and maintenance of such cemeteries under the Secretarys jurisdiction as the Secretary shall choose, under such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe.
(f) 
(1) The Secretary is authorized to convey to any State, or political subdivision thereof, in which any national cemetery is located, all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to any Government owned or controlled approach road to such cemetery if, prior to the delivery of any instrument of conveyance, the State or political subdivision to which such conveyance is to be made notifies the Secretary in writing of its willingness to accept and maintain the road included in such conveyance. Upon the execution and delivery of such a conveyance, the jurisdiction of the United States over the road conveyed shall cease and thereafter vest in the State or political subdivision concerned.
(2) The Secretary may, to the extent of appropriated funds available for such purpose, make a contribution to local authorities for the construction of road improvements or traffic controls or other devices on land adjacent to a national cemetery if the Secretary determines that such a contribution is essential to ensure safe ingress to or egress from the cemetery.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may at such time as the Secretary deems desirable, relinquish to the State in which any cemetery, monument, or memorial under the Secretarys jurisdiction is located, such portion of legislative jurisdiction over the lands involved as is necessary to establish concurrent jurisdiction between the Federal Government and the State concerned. Such partial relinquishment of jurisdiction under the authority of this subsection may be made by filing with the Governor of the State involved a notice of such relinquishment and shall take effect upon acceptance thereof by the State in such manner as its laws may prescribe.

38 USC 2405 - Disposition of inactive cemeteries

(a) The Secretary may transfer, with the consent of the agency concerned, any inactive cemetery, burial plot, memorial, or monument within the Secretarys control to the Department of the Interior for maintenance as a national monument or park, or to any other agency of the Government. Any cemetery transferred to the Department of the Interior shall be administered by the Secretary of the Interior as a part of the National Park System, and funds appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior for such system shall be available for the management and operation of such cemetery.
(b) The Secretary may also transfer and convey all right, title, and interest of the United States in or to any inactive cemetery or burial plot, or portion thereon, to any State, county, municipality, or proper agency thereof, in which or in the vicinity of which such cemetery or burial plot is located, but in the event the grantee shall cease or fail to care for and maintain the cemetery or burial plot or the graves and monuments contained therein in a manner satisfactory to the Secretary, all such right, title, and interest transferred or conveyed by the United States, shall revert to the United States.
(c) If a cemetery not under the control of the National Cemetery Administration has been or is to be discontinued, the Secretary may provide for the removal of remains from that cemetery to any cemetery under the control of such Administration. The Secretary may also provide for the removal of the remains of any veteran from a place of temporary interment, or from an abandoned grave or cemetery, to a national cemetery.

38 USC 2406 - Acquisition of lands

As additional lands are needed for national cemeteries, they may be acquired by the Secretary by purchase, gift (including donations from States or political subdivisions thereof), condemnation, transfer from other Federal agencies, exchange, or otherwise, as the Secretary determines to be in the best interest of the United States.

38 USC 2407 - Authority to accept and maintain suitable memorials

Subject to such restrictions as the Secretary may prescribe, the Secretary may accept gifts, devises, or bequests from legitimate societies and organizations or reputable individuals, made in any manner, which are made for the purpose of beautifying national cemeteries, or are determined to be beneficial to such cemetery. The Secretary may make land available for this purpose, and may furnish such care and maintenance as the Secretary deems necessary.

38 USC 2408 - Aid to States for establishment, expansion, and improvement of veterans cemeteries

(a) 
(1) Subject to subsection (b), the Secretary may make a grant to any State for the following purposes:
(A) Establishing, expanding, or improving a veterans cemetery owned by the State.
(B) Operating and maintaining such a cemetery.
(2) A grant under paragraph (1) may be made only upon submission of an application to the Secretary in such form and manner, and containing such information, as the Secretary may require.
(b) A grant under this section for a purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(A) shall be subject to the following conditions:
(1) The amount of such a grant may not exceed
(A) in the case of the establishment of a new cemetery, the sum of:
(i)  the cost of improvements to be made on the land to be converted into a cemetery; and
(ii)  the cost of initial equipment necessary to operate the cemetery; and
(B) in the case of the expansion or improvement of an existing cemetery, the sum of:
(i)  the cost of improvements to be made on any land to be added to the cemetery; and
(ii)  the cost of any improvements to be made to the existing cemetery.
(2) If the amount of such a grant is less than the amount of costs referred to in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1), the State receiving the grant shall contribute the excess of such costs over the grant.
(3) If a State that has received such a grant to establish, expand, or improve a veterans cemetery ceases to own such cemetery, ceases to operate such cemetery as a veterans cemetery, or uses any part of the funds provided through such grant for a purpose other than that for which the grant was made, the United States shall be entitled to recover from such State the total of all grants made under this section to such State in connection with such cemetery.
(c) 
(1) In addition to the conditions specified in subsection (b) of this section, any grant to a State under this section to assist such State in establishing a veterans cemetery shall be made on the condition that such cemetery shall conform to such standards and guidelines relating to site selection, planning, and construction as the Secretary may by regulation prescribe. In prescribing regulations for the purposes of the preceding sentence, the Secretary shall take into account the standards and guidelines for site selection, planning, and construction that are applicable to cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration, including those provided in subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 2404 of this title.
(2) The Secretary may by regulation prescribe such additional terms and conditions for grants under this section as the Secretary considers appropriate.
(d) 
(1) In addition to the conditions specified in subsections (b) and (c), any grant made to a State under this section shall be made subject to the condition specified in paragraph (2).
(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), the condition described in this paragraph is that, after the date of the receipt of the grant, such State prohibit the interment or memorialization in that cemetery of a person described in section 2411 (b) of this title, subject to the receipt of notice described in subsection (a)(2) of such section, except that for purposes of this subsection
(A) such notice shall be furnished to an appropriate official of such State; and
(B) a finding described in subsection (b)(3) of such section shall be made by an appropriate official of such State.
(e) 
(1) Amounts appropriated to carry out this section shall remain available until expended. If all funds from a grant under this section have not been utilized by a State for the purpose for which the grant was made within three years after such grant is made, the United States shall be entitled to recover any such unused grant funds from such State.
(2) In any fiscal year, the aggregate amount of grants awarded under this section for the purposes specified in subsection (a)(1)(B) may not exceed $5,000,000.
(f) 
(1) The Secretary may make grants under this subsection to any tribal organization to assist the tribal organization in establishing, expanding, or improving veterans cemeteries, or in operating and maintaining such cemeteries, on trust land owned by, or held in trust for, the tribal organization.
(2) Grants under this subsection shall be made in the same manner, and under the same conditions, as grants to States are made under the preceding provisions of this section.
(3) For purposes of this subsection:
(A) The term tribal organization has the meaning given that term in section 3765 (4) of this title.
(B) The term trust land has the meaning given that term in section 3765 (1) of this title.

38 USC 2409 - Memorial areas in Arlington National Cemetery

(a) The Secretary of the Army may set aside, when available, a suitable area or areas in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, to honor the memory of members of the Armed Forces and veterans
(1) who are missing in action;
(2) whose remains have not been recovered or identified;
(3) whose remains were buried at sea, whether by the members or veterans own choice or otherwise;
(4) whose remains were donated to science; or
(5) whose remains were cremated and whose ashes were scattered without interment of any portion of the ashes.
(b) Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Army, appropriate memorials or markers may be erected in Arlington National Cemetery to honor the memory of those individuals, or group of individuals, referred to in subsection (a) of this section.

38 USC 2410 - Burial of cremated remains in Arlington National Cemetery

(a) The Secretary of the Army shall designate an area of appropriate size within Arlington National Cemetery for the unmarked interment, in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, of the ashes of persons eligible for interment in Arlington National Cemetery whose remains were cremated. Such area shall be an area not suitable for the burial of casketed remains.
(b) The Secretary of each military department shall make available appropriate forms on which those members of the Armed Forces who so desire may indicate their desire to be buried within the area to be designated under subsection (a).

38 USC 2411 - Prohibition against interment or memorialization in the National Cemetery Administration or Arlington National Cemetery of persons committing Federal or State capital crimes

(a) 
(1) In the case of a person described in subsection (b), the appropriate Federal official may not
(A) inter the remains of such person in a cemetery in the National Cemetery Administration or in Arlington National Cemetery; or
(B) honor the memory of such person in a memorial area in a cemetery in the National Cemetery Administration (described in section 2403 (a) of this title) or in such an area in Arlington National Cemetery (described in section 2409 (a) of this title).
(2) In the case of a person described in subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2), the prohibition under paragraph (1) shall not apply unless written notice of a conviction referred to in subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2), as the case may be, is received by the appropriate Federal official before such official approves an application for the interment or memorialization of such person. Such written notice shall be furnished to such official by the Attorney General, in the case of a Federal capital crime, or by an appropriate State official, in the case of a State capital crime.
(b) A person referred to in subsection (a) is any of the following:
(1) A person who has been convicted of a Federal capital crime and whose conviction is final (other than a person whose sentence was commuted by the President).
(2) A person who has been convicted of a State capital crime and whose conviction is final (other than a person whose sentence was commuted by the Governor of a State).
(3) A person who
(A) is found (as provided in subsection (c)) to have committed a Federal capital crime or a State capital crime, but
(B) has not been convicted of such crime by reason of such person not being available for trial due to death or flight to avoid prosecution.
(c) A finding under subsection (b)(3) shall be made by the appropriate Federal official. Any such finding may only be made based upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence, after an opportunity for a hearing in a manner prescribed by the appropriate Federal official.
(d) For purposes of this section:
(1) The term Federal capital crime means an offense under Federal law for which a sentence of imprisonment for life or the death penalty may be imposed.
(2) The term State capital crime means, under State law, the willful, deliberate, or premeditated unlawful killing of another human being for which a sentence of imprisonment for life or the death penalty may be imposed.
(3) The term appropriate Federal official means
(A) the Secretary, in the case of the National Cemetery Administration; and
(B) the Secretary of the Army, in the case of Arlington National Cemetery.

38 USC 2412 - Lease of land and buildings

(a) Lease Authorized.— 
The Secretary may lease any undeveloped land and unused or underutilized buildings, or parts or parcels thereof, belonging to the United States and part of the National Cemetery Administration.
(b) Term.— 
The term of a lease under subsection (a) may not exceed 10 years.
(c) Lease to Public or Nonprofit Organizations.— 

(1) A lease under subsection (a) to any public or nonprofit organization may be made without regard to the provisions of section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C. 5).
(2) Notwithstanding section 1302 of title 40 or any other provision of law, a lease under subsection (a) to any public or nonprofit organization may provide for the maintenance, protection, or restoration of the leased property by the lessee, as a part or all of the consideration for the lease.
(d) Notice.— 
Before entering into a lease under subsection (a), the Secretary shall give appropriate public notice of the intention of the Secretary to enter into the lease in a newspaper of general circulation in the community in which the lands or buildings concerned are located.
(e) National Cemetery Administration Facilities Operation Fund.— 

(1) There is established on the book of the Treasury an account to be known as the National Cemetery Administration Facilities Operation Fund (in this section referred to as the Fund).
(2) The Fund shall consist of the following:
(A) Proceeds from the lease of land or buildings under this section.
(B) Proceeds of agricultural licenses of lands of the National Cemetery Administration.
(C) Any other amounts appropriated to or otherwise authorized for deposit in the Fund by law.
(3) Amounts in the Fund shall be available to cover costs incurred by the National Cemetery Administration in the operation and maintenance of property of the Administration.
(4) Amounts in the Fund shall remain available until expended.

38 USC 2413 - Prohibition on certain demonstrations at cemeteries under control of the National Cemetery Administration and at Arlington National Cemetery

(a) Prohibition.— 
No person may carry out
(1) a demonstration on the property of a cemetery under the control of the National Cemetery Administration or on the property of Arlington National Cemetery unless the demonstration has been approved by the cemetery superintendent or the director of the property on which the cemetery is located; or
(2) with respect to such a cemetery, a demonstration during the period beginning 60 minutes before and ending 60 minutes after a funeral, memorial service, or ceremony is held, any part of which demonstration
(A) 
(i) takes place within 150 feet of a road, pathway, or other route of ingress to or egress from such cemetery property; and
(ii) includes, as part of such demonstration, any individual willfully making or assisting in the making of any noise or diversion that disturbs or tends to disturb the peace or good order of the funeral, memorial service, or ceremony; or
(B) is within 300 feet of such cemetery and impedes the access to or egress from such cemetery.
(b) Demonstration.— 
For purposes of this section, the term demonstration includes the following:
(1) Any picketing or similar conduct.
(2) Any oration, speech, use of sound amplification equipment or device, or similar conduct that is not part of a funeral, memorial service, or ceremony.
(3) The display of any placard, banner, flag, or similar device, unless such a display is part of a funeral, memorial service, or ceremony.
(4) The distribution of any handbill, pamphlet, leaflet, or other written or printed matter other than a program distributed as part of a funeral, memorial service, or ceremony.