These are some of the frequently asked questions Veteran Services receives. Please contact us for answers to your questions if they are not answered below, and we will do our best to provide timely and relevant answers for you.
During service each veteran receives recognition in the form of awards based on when, where or how the service was performed. Generally the awards to which a veteran is entitled are listed on the discharge papers or DD214. At times, either due to a later awarding, a new award issuance, or oversight by the clerk/yeoman, the award is authorized but not on the discharge. With the Congressional concern over the wearing of awards not earned (the “Stolen Valor Act”) we want to help you to receive all the awards you should have, and be able to document they were authorized. This National Archives website will provide the necessary details for requesting the appropriate awards and decorations.
If awards are lost or stolen, every veteran is entitled to one replacement set of awards during a lifetime. The authorization for these replacement awards is obtained through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which sends the listing to the appropriate issuing authority based on your branch of service, with a copy to you. The issuing authority will send you the awards, but the listing of awards sent from NPRC is proof that you have earned the awards. We will be pleased to assist you with obtaining the replacements.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
On Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.
Click the flag to read about historic details of how the U.S. flag came to be, or the rules and regulations associated with flying the United States of America’s flag.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VETERANS DAY AND MEMORIAL DAY?
Both holidays were established to recognize and honor the men and women who have worn the uniform of
the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday in May, was originally set
aside as a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country,
particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.
While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, which is observed on November 11, Veterans
Day is intended to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In
fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living Veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their
contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not
only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.
To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress
passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage
the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom
and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the
National Moment of Remembrance.
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local
time on Memorial Day for a two minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the
On October 7, 2016, President Obama signed the Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act. The new law
requires that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe a two-minute
national moment of silence on Veterans Day at 3:11 p.m. Atlantic standard time, 2:11 p.m. eastern standard time,
1:11 p.m. central standard time, 12:11 p.m. mountain standard time, 11:11 a.m. Pacific standard time, 10:11 a.m.
Alaska standard time, and 9:11 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian standard time.
Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Rd, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329-1647
You may use ANY of the following to request assistance:
• Ask VA to help you fill out the form by calling us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
• Access the VA website at http://www.va.gov and select “Contact Us” at the top right.
• Contact the Enrollment Coordinator at your local VA health care facility. (See above list of local VA facilities)
• Contact a National or State Veterans Service Organization, including your local VSO from your Massachusetts City or Town.
M.G.L. ch.4, s.7, clause 43 (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 4, Section 7, Clause 43)
To be a “veteran” under Massachusetts law a person is required to have either:
180 days of active duty service and be discharged or released under honorable conditions – OR –
90 days of active duty service, one day of which is during “wartime” per the chart which follows, and be discharged or released under honorable conditions, except for Vietnam I, which requires 180 days of active duty service (see chart below).
For Guard Members to qualify they must have either:
180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code and have been discharged or released under honorable conditions or;
Members who were activated under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code or Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 33, section 38, 40, and 41 must have served 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime, per the chart located on page 3. The members’ last discharge or release must be under honorable conditions.
For Reservists to qualify, they must have been called to regular active duty, at which point their eligibility can be determined by the chart below.
Minimum service exception (for death or disability)
It is not necessary that an applicant has completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign if s/he served some time in the campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart, or suffered a service-connected disability per the discharge certificate, or died in the service under honorable conditions.
Training duty exception
Active service in the armed forces, as used in this clause, shall not include active duty for training in the Army or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a Reservist in the armed forces of the United States.
Any Merchant Marine who served for a period of 90 days in armed conflict between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, and who received an honorable discharge from the Army, Navy, or Coast Guard of the United States.
The following categories of persons may qualify as dependents eligible to receive veterans’ benefits:
Spouse of the veteran;
Widow or widower of the veteran;
Dependent parent of the veteran;
Any person who acted as a parent to the veteran for five years immediately preceding the commencement of the veteran’s wartime service;
Child of the veteran until his or her 19th birthday;
Child of the veteran between 19 years and 24 years of age while the child is attending high school, an institution of higher learning or some other accredited educational institution;
Child of the veteran 19 years of age or older who is mentally or physically unable to support him/herself and was affected by the disability prior to his/her 18th birthday;
Legally adopted children of the veteran.
Who is not eligible?
None of the following shall be deemed to be a veteran:
Any person, who at the time of entering into the armed forces of the United States, had as his/her intention to become a subject or citizen of the United States and withdrew his/her intention under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918;
Any person who was discharged from said armed forces on his/her own application or solicitation by reason of his/her being an enemy alien;
Any person who has been proven guilty of willful desertion;
Any person whose only service in the armed forces of the United States consists of his/her service as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary or as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve, or both;
Any person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces is dishonorable or other than honorable.
* Naval and Marine DD Form 214 must indicate Expeditionary Medal. All DD Form 214’s must specify campaign: Lebanon, Granada, or Panama.
For GUARD MEMBERS to qualify they must have 180 days and have been activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code -OR- Members who were activated under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code or Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 33, sections 38, 40, and 41 must have 90 days, at least one of which was during wartime, per the above chart.
For RESERVISTS to qualify, they must have been called to regular active duty, at which point their eligibility can be determined by the above chart.
Minimum Service Exception (for Death or Disability): It is not necessary that an applicant have completed the minimum service for wartime or peacetime campaign if s/he served some time in the campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart, or suffered a service-connected disability per the Discharge Certificate, or died in the service under honorable conditions.
Training Duty Exception:Active duty service in the armed forces shall not include active duty for training in the Army or Air National Guard or active duty for training as a Reservist in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
The Veterans Administration operates over 100 National Cemeteries around the country, and provides no cost burial for eligible persons. Burial benefits available include a grave site in any cemetery with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate at no cost to the family. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances.
Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains. Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the veteran, perpetual care, with the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death inscribed on the veteran’s headstone. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the veteran.