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Veterans Memorial Cemetery
In 1862, President Lincoln signed into law legislation authorizing the establishment of national cemeteries.
After the Civil War, search and recovery teams visited hundreds of battlefields, churchyards, plantations and other locations seeking wartime interments that were made in haste. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Civil War dead were re-interred in 73 national cemeteries.
The National Cemetery Administration has undergone many changes since its inception. In 1873, Congress extended the right of burial in a national cemetery to all honorably discharged Union veterans of the Civil War. By a 1933 Executive Order, certain national cemeteries were transferred from the War Department (now the Department of the Army) to the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior. In June 1973, Public Law 93-43 authorized the transfer of 82 national cemeteries from the Department of the Army to the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This action combined the 82 army cemeteries with 21 cemeteries already under the VA.
In 1978, Congress established the State Cemetery Grants Program (Public Law 95-476). Administered by the National Cemetery Administration to aid States and U.S. territories in the establishment, expansion and improvement of veterans cemeteries, the State Cemetery Grants Program complements the National Cemetery Administration by providing gravesites for veterans in those areas not adequately served by national cemeteries.
The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado
The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado was authorized by the Colorado Legislature in 1999 to honor Colorado veterans. Construction began in June, 2001 and was completed on September 4, 2002. The Cemetery officially opened on September 5, 2002. A total of three interments occurred on that day with the first being that of Aidan J. Quinn, a World War I veteran who was interred in Columbarium 1.
The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado is located on ~ 22.5 acres at 2830 Riverside Parkway, Grand Junction, Colorado, just east of the Grand Junction Regional Center. It has a capacity of 3,337 units, including 1,758 units for casketed remains and 1,579 units for cremated remains (of which 861 are columbarium wall niches). Additionally, there are 775 memorial garden plots available for veterans whose remains were not recovered or were donated to science or are otherwise unavailable for interment.
The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado is intended to be a dignified final resting place for Colorado.
There are memorial walks on either side of the creek running northeast to southwest through the Cemetery. These walks pass by each of the five columbaria in front of which are benches for visitors.
There are landscaped areas for in-ground interments that are characterized by thoughtful placement of trees, shrubs, and other plantings. These areas provide additional places for individual reflection.
The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado conveys the appreciation of the people of Colorado to its veterans for answering the call of duty and faithfully and honorably serving the United States of America and the State of Colorado.
Eligibility for burial in the cemetery is the same as for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries but includes a residency requirement.
The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week.
Administration office hours are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday except for State holidays.
Contact Info (Click Here)
Persons Eligible for Interment in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado
The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado Administrator has the primary responsibility for verifying eligibility for interment in the Cemetery.
A determination of eligibility is usually made in response to a request for interment (however, early registration is available).
Persons eligible for interment in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado include:
1. Colorado Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force)
2. Colorado Members of Reserve Components and Reserve Officers Training Corps
3. Colorado Commissioned Officers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
4. Public Health Service
5. World War II Merchant Mariners
6. Spouses and Dependents
Such other persons or classes of persons as designated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (38 U.S.C.)
Please contact the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado as follows:
Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado 2830 Riverside Parkway Grand Junction, CO 81501 Telephone: (970) 263-8986 Fax: (970) 257-7450
There is NO CHARGE for interment in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado. A gravesite or niche, opening and closing of the gravesite or niche, an upright granite headstone or granite niche marker with authorized inscription(s), concrete vault (grave liner) for most casketed remains, use of Committal Shelter and/or Visitors Center, and perpetual care are provided at no expense to the next-of-kin.
A grave liner (vault, crypt) is a concrete container within a gravesite in which the casket is placed. It is provided at no cost, except in conventional gravesite areas, and is used to reduce the amount of grave sinkage subsequent to interment. Grave liners are neither sealed nor watertight.
Cremated remains are buried or inurned in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the United States Armed Forces. It is normally furnished through a funeral services provider to honor the memory of a veteran.
Eligibility for Former Members of Selected Reserve was added by Section 571 of Public Law 105-261.
Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, the flag may be provided to a friend making a request for it. Families may wish to donate the burial flag to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado to be flown on patriotic holidays.
Application for a burial flag may be made by completing VA Form 21-2008 (90-2008), Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. Flags may be obtained at any VA regional office or United States Post Office. Generally, the funeral director will help with this. Upon request, Cemetery staff can assist with an application as well.
The law allows only one flag to be issued for a veteran.
Presidential Memorial Certificate
A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is a gold embossed paper certificate inscribed with the veteran's name and signed by the President commemorating the veteran's service.
FAX: The request and all supporting documents should be faxed to (202) 565-8054.
MAIL: The request and all supporting documents should be sent to:
Cemetery staff can assist with this process upon request.
Honoring Those Who Served
The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing active duty military funeral honors. The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado staff will assist, upon request, with arrangements.
On January 1, 2000, the DOD began the implementation plan for Providing military funeral honors for eligible veterans as enacted in Section 578 of Public Law 106-65 of the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2000.
At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado, funeral honors may be provided by the veteran's service branch (active duty) or the Colorado Army National Guard and/or the Grand Valley Combined Honor Guard.
Questions or comments concerning funeral honors program may be directed to:
- - or the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado at 970-263-8986.
Early Registration and Forms
While a location cannot be reserved at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado, a veteran can register before the time of need so that an early determination of eligibility can be made (Eligibility section HERE).
This information will be maintained at the Cemetery so that, at the time of need, it is readily available.
Downloadable forms and instructions in PDF format are available in the (Form Sections HERE).
Memorial Cemetery Forms
Click on the PDF documents below to access VMC forms.
Reminder: In order to fill in the forms with the appropriate information, you must first download the form.
VMC Brochure - Rev April 2016Headstone and Niche Cover InscriptionVMC Form 1 Rev November 2017VMC Form 2 Rev November 2018VMC Form 3