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Many people choose to have a headstone, grave marker or plaque at the location of their body or cremains (ashes).

The epitaph usually includes the name of the person whose body or cremains are placed there, and the dates of their birth and death.

Headstones and Grave Markers

If the body is placed in a cemetery plot, there is generally either a headstone or a grave marker identifying the gravesite. A headstone sits vertically on a base and is visible from a distance. A grave marker is either flush with the ground or slightly raised at an angle.

Headstones and grave markers are often made of granite or marble, and vary considerably in scale and design. They may have a bronze plaque attached to them with text, artwork, or even a vase for flowers. Some people choose to have their headstone made from a natural stone, with a bronze plaque placed on the face of the stone.

The Epitaph

The epitaph usually includes the name of the deceased, the dates of their birth and death, plus other text, artwork or symbols. This can include a favorite quote or phrase, a meaningful figure or design, fraternal symbols, and so on.

The epitaph is usually engraved on a headstone or a grave marker, or cast on a bronze plaque that is attached to the headstone or marker.

In a mausoleum crypt or columbarium niche, the epitaph is located indoors on the door where the casket or urn is placed. In a family crypt, the name of the family is often visible on outside of the structure, while the epitaph for each family member is located inside. For a garden niche, the epitaph is on the wall where the urn is placed.

The epitaph may either be planned in advance, or composed by the family after the death.

Related Issues
Burial or cremation
Caskets and urns
Final location of the body
Funeral home services
Organ, tissue, and whole body donation

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