How We Request Grave Marker Changes
ESTABLISHMENT OF JEWISH IDENTITY
First, we establish through impeccable documentary evidence that a service member buried under a non-Jewish grave marker is, without question, of Jewish heritage. Our in-house professional genealogist conducts in-depth, painstaking research, both independently and with the cooperation of our soldiers' families.
Historical and genealogical research often involves field visits to cemeteries and archives, and of course, an immense amount of research is conducted online. We are grateful when surviving relatives and descendants can offer documentation, personal memories, or other evidence to support this research.
All of our work is done free of charge, and everything we find independently, we are delighted to share with our families. Often, we unearth genealogical information that was previously unknown to the service members’ family.
PRESENTATION TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT
After we have gathered the requisite evidence, we prepare a dossier to present to the federal government. We also prepare a cover letter to be signed by a family member, requesting the change to the grave marker. An iron-clad rule of the American Battle Monuments Commission requires both incontrovertible proof of the serviceman’s religion and the family’s support of a marker change.
We have found that government workers charged with handling these matters are methodical and appropriately cautious. Moreover, because the government is itself working from records that are more than 70 years old, and sometimes incomplete or missing, the verification process can take a long time. Nevertheless, our government partners are genuine and passionate in their desire to help set the historical record straight for our soldiers and their families.
GOVERNMENT APPROVAL AND MARKER CHANGE SCHEDULING
Once our request is granted, the federal government changes the grave marker, free of charge, and maintains it in perpetuity. We work together with our families and the government to agree on a date and time for the actual marker change. From our experience, marker changes are best scheduled between mid-spring and early fall.
GRAVESIDE MARKER CHANGE CEREMONY
When a grave marker change is finally scheduled, the deceased's family members have the opportunity to be participate in a meaningful Jewish graveside marker change ceremony. Other project members are also present to help ensure that the change of marker is conducted with the highest level of honor and dignity. This is our privilege, and most appropriate for those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country.
We are immensely grateful to the families who agree to cooperate in this meaningful endeavor. It is our extraordinary honor to be of assistance in such a noble undertaking, because heroes deserve to rest in peace.