Veterans Memorial Cemetery

 

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Background
 
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.
 
 

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Eligibility


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)

a. Any Colorado member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty.
b. Any Colorado veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. With certain exceptions, service beginning after September 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and service after October 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 months or the full period for which the person was called to active duty. (Examples include those serving less than 24 months in the Gulf War or Reservists who were federalized by Presidential Act). Undesirable, bad conduct, and any other type of discharge other than honorable may or may not qualify the individual for veterans benefits, depending upon a determination made by a VA Regional Office. Cases presenting multiple discharges of varying character are also referred for adjudication to a VA Regional Office.
c. Any citizen of the United States and Colorado who, during any war in which the United States has been or may hereafter be engaged, served in the Armed Forces of any Government allied with the United States during that war, whose last active service was terminated honorably by death or otherwise, and who was a citizen of the United States and Colorado at the time of entry into such service and at the time of death.

2. Colorado Members of Reserve Components and Reserve Officers Training Corps

a. Colorado Reservists and National Guard members who, at time of death, were entitled to retired pay under Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code, or would have been entitled, but for being under the age of 60. Specific categories of persons eligible for retired pay are delineated in section 12731 of Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code.
b. Colorado member of reserve components who die while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while performing active duty for training or inactive duty training, or undergoing such hospitalization or treatment.
c. Colorado members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps of the Army, Navy, or Air Force who die under honorable conditions while attending an authorized training camp or on an authorized cruise, while performing authorized travel to or from that camp or cruise, or while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while engaged in one of those activities.
d. Colorado members of reserve components who, during a period of active duty for training, were disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty or, during a period of inactive duty training, were disabled or died from an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

3. Colorado Commissioned Officers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

a. A Colorado Commissioned Officer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (formerly titled the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Environmental Science Services Administration) will full-time duty on or after July 29, 1945.
b. A Colorado Commissioned Officer who served before July 29, 1945; and:
    1. Was assigned to an area of immediate military hazard while in time of war, or of a Presidentially declared national emergency as determined by the Secretary of Defense;
    2. Served in the Philippine Islands on December 7, 1941, and continuously in such islands thereafter; or,
    3. Transferred to the Department of the Army or the Department of the Navy under the provisions of the Act of May 22, 1917 (40 Stat. 87; 33 U.S.C.
 

4. Public Health Service

a. Colorado Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service who served on full-time duty on or after July 29, 1945. If the service of the particular Public Health Service Officer falls within the meaning of active duty for training, as defined in section 101(22), title 38, United States Code, he or she must have been disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
b. A Colorado Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service who performed full-time duty prior to July 29, 1945;
    1. In time of war;
    2. On detail for duty with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Air Force; or,
    3. While the Service was part of the military forces of the United States pursuant to Executive Order of the President.
c. A Colorado Commissioned Officer serving on inactive duty training as defined in section 101(23), title 38, United States Code, whose death resulted from an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

5. World War II Merchant Mariners

a. United States Merchant Mariners with oceangoing service during the period of armed conflict, December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946. Prior to the enactment of Public Law 105-368, United States Merchant Mariners with oceangoing service during the period of armed conflict of December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945, were eligible. With enactment of Public Law 105-368, the service period is extended to December 31, 1946, for those dying on or after November 11, 1998. A DD-214 documenting this service may be obtained by submitting an application to Commandant (G-MVP-6), United States Coast Guard, 2100 2nd Street, SW, Washington, DC 20593. Notwithstanding, the Mariner's death must have occurred on or after the enactment of Public Law 105-368.
b. United States Merchant Mariners who served on blockships in support of Operation Mulberry during World War II.

6. Spouses and Dependents

a. The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible person, even if that person is not buried or memorialized in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado or a national cemetery, is eligible for interment. In addition, the spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States lost or buried at sea, or officially determined to be permanently absent in a status of missing or missing in action, or whose remains have been donated to science or cremated and the ashes scattered is also eligible for burial.
    (1) A surviving spouse includes a surviving spouse who has had a subsequent remarriage and whose death occurred on or after January 1, 2000.
    (1) Who is under the age of 21 years; or,
    (2) Who is under 23 years of age and pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution; or,
    (3) Who became permanently physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before reaching 21 years of age, or before reaching 23 years of age if pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution. Proper supportive documentation must be provided.
b. The minor children of an eligible person. For purpose of interment in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado, a minor child is a person who is unmarried and:
c. The minor children of an eligible person. For purpose of interment in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado, a minor child is a person who is unmarried and:
    1. Who is under the age of 21 years; or,
    2. Who is under 23 years of age and pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution.
d. An unmarried adult child of an eligible person if the child is physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before reaching the age of 21 years. Proper supportive documentation must be provided.

7. Others

Such other persons or classes of persons as designated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (38 U.S.C.)
 
 

Cemetery Staff

 
Please contact the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado as follows:
 
Director
Joanne Iglesias
 
or
 
Administrative Assistant
Steven Stogsdill
 
Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado
2830 Riverside Parkway
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Telephone: (970) 263-8986
Fax: (970) 257-7450

 

Costs

 
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.
 
 
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:
 
  Department of Veterans Affairs
  National Cemetery Administration (402E12)
  810 Vermont Avenue, NW
  Washington, DC 20420-0001
 
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:
 
  Military Funeral Honors
  9504 IH-35 North, Suite 320
  San Antonio, TX 78233-6635
 
- - or the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado at 970-263-8986.
 
 

Floral Regulations

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  • •  Fresh cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time. They will be removed from graves as soon as they become unsightly or when they interfere with mowing.
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  • •  Plantings are not permitted on graves at any time.
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  • •  Glass containers are not allowed at the cemetery. Please inform the florist of this restriction. Flowers may be left at the cemetery after the service and, if requested, will be placed at the gravesite.
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  • •  Artificial flowers may be placed on graves only when their presence will not interfere with grounds maintenance (normally from November 1st to April 1st). They will, however, be allowed on graves for a period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
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  • •  During lawn mowing and grounds maintenance season, all floral items will be removed from graves weekly. The only exception will be during the Easter Sunday and Memorial Day periods.
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  • •  Holiday wreaths, blankets, and other seasonal adornments are permitted on graves from December 1st through January 20th. They will be removed after that time.
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  • •  Permanent types of flower containers, statues, vigil lights, glass objects of any kind and other types of commemorative items are not permitted at any time. However, metal vases are available at no charge for use at in-ground graves and may be obtained at any one of the three floral stations in the Cemetery.
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  • •  Floral items and other types of decorations will not be secured to markers.
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  • •  The Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado does not permit items on graves which are: considered offensive; inconsistent with the dignity of the Cemetery; and/or, considered hazardous to Cemetery personnel (items incorporating beads or wires, for example, may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury).
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  • •  All items placed on gravesites become the property of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado and will be disposed of under applicable regulations. The Cemetery is not responsible for floral items/decorations after they have been placed on gravesites. Flowers are placed at one's own risk and will not be replaced if they are damaged, lost, or stolen.

 

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 2016

Headstone and Niche Cover Inscription

VMC Form 1 Rev November 2017

VMC Form 2 Rev November 2018

VMC Form 3

 

Photos