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Cremation Monuments: Rising in Popularity

Dave Jacobs / WW2 Memorial to cremated war dead

Cremation is not a new alternative. In fact, modern cremation originated in 1873, over a century ago, in Italy. However, America didn’t adopt cremation until a few years later in 1876. For decades in-ground burials have been the go-to for eternal rest; because, they provided friends and family with a place to mourn and pay their respects and, at the time, people were not as aware of the full spectrum of memorial services available to them.                         Nevertheless, over the past few years, we have seen a shift as cremation has been quickly rising in popularity. A study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association showed that 50.2% of Americans chose cremation in 2016, that’s an increase of 3.5% from 2015; and this number increased yet again to 51.6% in 2017. There are multiple factors that have affected this increased in cremations including cost, demographic factors, and an increased exposure to new traditions.

Why more people are choosing cremation

Cremation is more cost effective

One of the primary reasons behind the increase in the popularity of cremation is the cost. Cremation is substantially cheaper than a traditional burial. In some area’s cremation is only about 25% of what an in-ground burial would be. The costs associated with cremation can vary some though, depending on the details you chose. A typical cremation generally involves the cost of the cremation itself and the urn. However, cremation memorials and monuments are a growing and popular trend and provide families with the option of cremation, while still having a traditional memorial for loved ones to visit and pay their respects.

Loosening the hold on family roots and traditions

The traditional way of life for Americans has change over the years. More and more families are choosing to move around and live in different parts of the country and the world. The advancements in transportation and technology have made it easier for families to live hundreds, or even thousands, of miles apart and still stay in touch with their loved ones. Although much of the population has chosen to remain connected to their hometown and the traditions they were raised with, others have opted to pursue new experiences and cultures. This has resulted in a slightly more transient population where people are being exposed to new traditions and ideas, which has resulted in an increase in the cremation rate.

Cremation Urns and Monument Options

If it is your loved one wishes to be cremated, there are several options for memorialization available. Including some newer, less traditional, options such as having a loved one’s cremated ashes used in a tattoo or one could have their ashes set into jewelry, so that you can carry them with you always. There is also the more traditional option of having a loved one’s ashes placed into an urn or cremation monument.

Selecting an Urn

When choosing an urn for your loved one, you will need to make a few decisions regarding the materials, style, and any personalization you want. Urns can be crafted from a variety of materials such as: stone, wood, ceramic, metal, and glass. When selecting a style, there are several choices available to you including traditional, military options, companion urns, and many more. How you personalize your urn will depend greatly on the individual you are memorializing. Many chose to have the urn engraved with personal details and a small symbol, others opt to have urns specially crafted to reflect their loved one’s interests or hobbies. The monument company you choose to help you with your loved one’s urn will be able to show you some of the options available to you and if you want something custom made, they can work with you on creating the perfect design for your loved one’s urn.

Cremation Monuments & Memorials

Cremation monuments are growing in popularity. They are very similar to the traditional headstone, except there is a niche where the urn can be placed. The niche is a hollow area that is created inside the monument with a removable panel for placing the urn. Like traditional headstones, a cremation monument can be personalized with the addition of vases or statues to the monument. Further personalization options include the addition of porcelain pictures, medallions, or engraved symbols and artwork. All of these are a great way to pay tribute to the life of your loved one and share a small part of their life story, for generations to come. Here are a few of the different monument options available:

Cremation Niche

A cremation niche is an above ground space where an urn can be placed. It is not uncommon for niches to occasionally be sealed.


A columbarium monument is specifically designed to be shared by multiple families, it has multiple niches for the placement of urns.

Niche Pedestals

The niche pedestal does not require a concrete foundation and can be placed in a yard, cemetery or garden. Can hold 2 urns.

Cremation Bench

A cremation bench requires a cement foundation, for structural purposes; however, the base can be covered with granite to enhance the benches aesthetics. These benches can accommodate multiple urns.

Estate Size Cremation Monuments

Estate Cremation Monuments can be used in a cemetery or you can have them placed on private property. They are designed to hold several urns for an entire family and come with ample room for engraving and personalization.

For those that prefer to keep their loved one’s ashes with them but, would still like to provide a place for friends and family to visit and pay their respects, a cremation memorial is a great option. You can have a memorial bench crafted in their honor and placed under a tree. Or you could have a simple marker placed in a cemetery of your choosing. Your local monument company can go over all your options with you, in greater detail.

Cremation and the Traditional Memorial Monument

With cremation rates steadily rising, we can expect to see more and more people choosing cremation over an in-ground burial; but this does not have to mean forgoing some of the other traditional aspects commonly associated with an in-ground burial. For example, you can still have a traditional funeral service and viewing or hold a memorial service for friends and family. Cremation also does not prevent you from having a monument or memorial crafted in tribute to your loved one. Cremation Monuments and memorials are a popular choice that provide family and friends a place to pay their respects and reflect on the life of their lost loved one.

Here at Columbia Gardens Memorials we offer unique and personalized Cremation Monuments and memorials, throughout the greater Washington D.C. area. Our monument builders and staff will be there with you every step of the way, to ensure you get the perfect memorial to honor the life of your loved one. Get in touch with us today.

Dave Jacobs, WW2 Memorial to cremated war dead – – 40942, size, CC BY-SA 2.0


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