On Monday, November 21, I gathered my family at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Rich Square, North Carolina, to honor my grandfather, Ralph V. Jenkins, with a VA memorial marker. When he passed away, we scattered his ashes, but we never procured the traditional VA headstone or marker as we had no remains to bury. Because I work for VA, I knew we could secure a memorial marker but, as is often the case with our hectic lifestyles, I kept putting it off. Interestingly enough, most people I have spoken with had no idea you could procure a memorial marker for a loved one (assuming VA hadn’t furnished a VA headstone before).

My grandfather and U.S. Navy Veteran Ralph V. Jenkins served in combat during WWII and the Korean War. Our family honored him with a VA memorial marker placed in Rich Square, N.C., Nov. 21.

My grandfather and U.S. Navy Veteran Ralph V. Jenkins served in combat during WWII and the Korean War. Our family honored him with a VA memorial marker placed in Rich Square, N.C., Nov. 21.

With my father and uncle’s blessing, I submitted the VA Form 40-1330 to a funeral home in Rich Square to assist with the process. One of the funeral directors personally installed the marker while we observed. He was so moved by the whole experience that he planned on including some information regarding the event with the photo on his business’ webpage and his personal Facebook page.

Coordinating with my family scattered all around the country, we met at the cemetery to unveil the stone and observe the installation. Grandfather’s marker was placed next to his parents and brother in the family plot. He was born and raised in Rich Square, but was living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. when he passed away. I was especially close to my grandfather growing up and I know how especially proud he was of his service in the Navy.

He served aboard the USS Knox (APA-46) as a radioman during WWII in the Pacific during the island hopping campaigns (Saipan, Philippine Sea, Leyte, and Iwo Jima). His ship was responsible for ferrying troops ashore during the landings. I remember the stories he would tell when I was young about service aboard the ship in combat during WWII, about witnessing first-hand large-scale naval battles, kamikaze attacks and thousands of casualties. He said going ashore to gather casualties during Iwo Jima was especially emotional.

My grandfather re-enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War, and he passed away in 1999. Honoring him with a VA memorial marker has meant a lot to my family, and I can’t thank VA enough.

About the author: Scott Jenkins is a Rating Quality Review Specialist at the Veterans Benefit Administration’s Philadelphia regional office.

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Published on Dec. 8, 2016

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  1. Alvin L. Horn December 11, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I am so very Happy for your wonderful experience, and the peace knowing your Grandfather is now at rest. I pray he watches over you. Its nice to see that great Picture.
    Respectfully Yours,
    Al Horn USMC

  2. Joe Maher December 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I joined the US Marines on my 17th birthday April 26 1950 to help our country during the Korean war. I live in Port Saint Lucie,FL
    Getting help from the VA is like a nightmare. I only can only see a nurse practitioner who in my opinion doe not know much.
    When I ask to see a doctor at the West Palm Beach facility it takes her a week just to put in the request and then the appt is at least a month away. I am trying to get new glasses for 2 months now using the choice program and it has failed completely. I had my eye exam done by the local provider they sent me to and she emailed my prescription to WPB twice with no results. Now I am told I have to bring the prescription to West Palm Beach which is 47 miles away. If that is what you call taking care of a veteran something is very,very wrong.I won’t even mention the hold time on phone calls,
    Joe Maher

  3. Edwin A. Nidiffer December 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    When can one apply for gravemarker for myself and wife ? Fortunately, we are both still leaving but this would be just one other thing less to attend to.


  4. John Inman December 9, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I am so grateful for the veterans and their families who lost their lives for our country.

    God bless you’all,
    A Fellow NC Vet

  5. Ed Blitz December 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    When serving in Korea, I was advised it was an “action”, not a War and later learned it was the forgotten “war”. What caused the change of mind?

  6. Geneva Pendleton Flynn December 8, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I am so glad about this program of honoring veterans who have served their country in whatever capacity, no matter their gender, no matter their racial affiliation, or any other characteristic that may be considered or applied! I am a black female: I served in the Air Force as a communication specialist for 21 years…staying proud! God bless your efforts!

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