Why are all tombstones identical in military cemeteries/sections?

Discussion in 'Memorials & Cemeteries' started by primalclaws1974, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. I have never been in the military, so maybe I am unaware of an obvious answer. Why are the headstones all exactly the same in military sections/cemeteries? To me, it seems like they want everyone to look like a cog in the wheel. Is that how a soldier is treated in life? Are they taught that they are not special, but just a small part of a bigger whole? I may be way off base, but that's my perspective at the moment.
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    They aren't. While it is true these headstones are standardized they can be adapted within a range of options. Most noteable are the Jewish grave markers -- a six-sided star rather than a cross.

    Here a link you may find helpful:

    jrj1701 likes this.
  3. Okay, that seems like a minor detail. The last national cemetery I was in was outside Sturgis, South Dakota. I did not see a single stone that was different. It would be very difficult to find someone buried in the cemetery, because not only are they identical, there are huge amounts of people buried there. Thanks for the link, regardless.
  4. Turquise

    Turquise New Member

    (The following is my educated guess)
    Maybe it's because in the old times many of the soldiers who were compulsoty conscripted came from lower social classes, which meant that back then many neither had the funds nor some sort of social security to cover for the funerary rites and grave.
    So this uniform gravestone could have started as a state funded grave to honour every soldier no matter where they came from and later on evolved to a uniform gravestone for every soldier, to signify that in the army a person's social stratum means nothing against rank and against God's eyes...to promote solidarity among comrades I guess?

    Let's hope someone gives us feedback on this question.
  5. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    It's because the government pays for it. They have a standard design. In the UK a serviceman/woman who dies whilst in service is entitled to a military headstone if they want one. They don't have to have one.
  6. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman New Member

    There is also the additional element with British and Commonwealth graves of "equality in death"; standardised stones (you could not pay for a "better" one, only for an inscription at the base) and no laying out according to rank, or separation of officers from men. There are also allowances for religious symbols, or indeed none.
  7. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    I recently discovered a WWI Tank Corps grave in one of my local cemeteries, it had slipped through the net and and been neglected, not anymore, before and after photo's

    Attached Files:

    • ww.jpg
      File size:
      142.9 KB
    • hw6.jpg
      File size:
      719.7 KB
    • hw5.jpg
      File size:
      450.2 KB
  8. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    There is a a variety of options depending on the religion of the individual. Various Christian, Jewish, and other religions (e.g., Mormon, Hindu, etc.) and non-religious (e.g., atheist) are available. There is a visual guide here.
  9. davec23

    davec23 New Member

    It was decided that all men were equal in death in the war after WW1 and therefore there is no distinguishing status to them.

Share This Page