Michigan’s 5 National Cemeteries: Remembering Soldiers We’ve Lost
If you want to really get down to the nitty-gritty of why Memorial Day Weekend even exists, you have to stop and think about the nation's military.
Not to be confused with Veterans' Day (which honors all American servicemembers), Memorial Day in the United States is reserved to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.
Soldiers who are killed in the line of duty are eligible to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., but there is no requirement to be. The families of servicemembers killed in action may choose to have them buried or memorialized at another national cemetery, or in any cemetery of their choosing.
Across the nation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) National Cemetery Administration runs 155 national cemeteries, along with 34 soldiers' lots and monument sites. Five of these sites are in Michigan.
Michigan's National Cemeteries
Fort Custer National Cemetery
Fort Custer National Cemetery is located just to the west of Battle Creek in Augusta, Michigan.
It is one of two national cemeteries in Michigan that still has space available to accommodate new burials and memorials.
Great Lakes National Cemetery
Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly is the other national cemetery in Michigan that still accepts new burials and memorials.
Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery
Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery is located in Mackinac State Park on Mackinac Island.
It's a small cemetery that no longer accepts burials/interments. Soldiers who served in the War of 1812 and the Civil War are buried here.
Lakeside Cemetery Soldiers' Lot
The Lakeside Cemetery Soldiers' Lot is located in Port Huron, Michigan.
The soldiers' lot is part of Port Huron's larger Lakeside Cemetery, and no longer accepts interments. Soldiers from 1800s Fort Gratiot are buried here.
Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Cemetery
The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Cemetery is, as the name suggests, located in Grand Rapids.
This one's a little different in that the Veterans' Administration does not fund or directly oversee it. It operates independently of the VA.