Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed state holidays.
Cemetery gates open at 8:00am and closing at sunset.
Please note severe winter weather may prohibit access to the grounds on affected weekends and holidays.
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
The COVID-19 incident period ended on May 11, 2023. FEMA will continue to provide funeral assistance until Sept. 30, 2025, to those who have lost loved ones due to this pandemic.
To qualify for assistance
- the death must have occurred in the United States
- the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to Covid-19
- the applicant incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020
Information on how to apply can be found at COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov
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July 1 – June 30, 2023
Veteran Interments 661
Family Member Interments 260
Fiscal Year 2022
Armed Forces License Plates provided $630,000 for State Veterans Cemetery Operations, programs for veterans without homes, and other vital WDVA services.
The State Veterans Cemetery is located 3 miles west of Fairchild Air Force Base. From the flag assembly area looking southward, Francher Butte and West Medical Lake are present. Looking northward from the Committal Shelter, military aircraft banking northward off the 90 foot flagpole with its 30 foot flag lowered to half-staff often form the backdrop to interment services, and provide a serene setting for the final resting place of our nation's heroes, our veterans and their families.
The Public Information Center is located in the administration building. There is a grave site locator kiosk, accessible 7 days a week located just inside the foyer along with cemetery pamphlets that answer many questions.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
Burial in the Washington State Veterans Cemetery – Medical Lake is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.
For more information visit:
- Washington State Veteran Cemetery's Eligibility for Pre-need Burial Determination web page
- the National Cemetery Administration’s eligibility web page.
DIRECTIONS TO THE CEMETERY
From Spokane International Airport, take Interstate-90 westbound to exit 272 (Highway 902 Gold Star Memorial Highway Medical Lake). Stay on Highway 902 for 5.7 miles. Continue on Brooks Road West/North approximately 1 mile. Turn left on San Salvadore 1.2 miles to cemetery entrance on your right.
From Ritzville, take Interstate-90 eastbound to exit 264 (Highway 902 Salnave/Medical Lake). Take Highway 902 west for 6.9 miles. Turn left on Brooks Road to San Salvador, ½ mile on left. Take San Salvador 1.2 miles to cemetery entrance on your right. Map
SCHEDULE A BURIAL
Fax all discharge documentation to the Cemetery Scheduling Office at 509-299 6286 and follow-up with a phone call to 509-299-6280 Option 0.
Preneed registration is available and highly encouraged. Preneed arrangements provide you with the peace of mind that plans for your interment wishes have been made and will not burden your loved ones during what is a very stress filled and emotional time in their lives. Preneed arrangements are not binding and do not “reserve” a plot. They simply confirm eligibility criteria has been met. A subsequent review will take place at the time of interment scheduling.
- MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS
Public Law 106-65 authorizes qualifying veterans full military honors as a final act of respect for a veteran’s honorable military service. The Washington State Veterans Cemetery collaborates with all branches of the military and local Veterans Service Organizations’ Honor Guard teams to conduct military honors upon request.
Military Honor Guard Contact
Army – 509-532-2777
Marines – 866-826-3628
Navy – 360-315-3273
AF – 509-247-4713
Coast Guard – 206-718-5759
Space Force – pending
*WDVA Cemetery Staff only coordinate military funeral honors services conducted at the State Veterans Cemetery, Medical Lake.
NCA Burial Service Videos
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
To ensure all veterans and their family members receive proper dignity and respect, and in keeping with National Shrine Standards cemetery staff will actively ensure all gravesites and headstones/markers comply with NCA policies and established guidelines. Cemetery grounds are open to the public from 8am – sunset daily. Please note, winter weather may limit weekend access.
Cemetery floral policies are posted on floral storage receptacles located throughout the cemetery.
- Fresh cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time.
- Artificial flowers may be placed on graves during the period of November - March.
- A limited number of floral containers (vases) are available for your use as a courtesy. These containers are reusable, so please do not remove them from cemetery property.
- At the time of burial, a limit of three (3) floral arrangements may accompany a casket to the gravesite. In the case of cremation inurnment, a limit of two (2) arrangements are allowed.
- Floral arrangements will be removed by staff when they become faded or unsightly. Please note, arrangements may be removed for mowing or other routine grounds maintenance tasks.
- Floral items or other decorations should not be secured to headstones or markers.
- To maintain the dignity of the cemetery permanent plantings, statues, balloons, pinwheels, candles, vigil lights, food or beverage, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on graves.
- Items of monetary or sentimental value should not be left on gravesites. The cemetery is not responsible for lost or stolen items. The cemetery does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery, or are considered hazardous to visitors or staff.Potted plants will be permitted on graves only during the period seven (7) days before and seven (7) days after Easter and Memorial Day.Christmas wreaths are permitted on graves during the Christmas Season beginning December 10th and will be removed not later than January 10th.
- The Cemetery places American flags on graves each Memorial Day. Please note: An 8”x12” flag is the recommended size for families wishing to place a flag on a grave at other times. Limit one (1) flag per gravesite, placed on the left side of each headstone.
Washington State Veterans Cemetery – Medical Lake was dedicated May 31, 2010 and opened for interments on Jun 7, 2010. The initial $8.8 million development project was the result of a collaborative partnership between the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Cemetery Administration. The site initially opened with 1,010 casket crypts, 2080 columbarium niches and 1,411 in ground cremation plots available to meet the initial interment needs across Eastern Washington. Two expansion projects completed in June 2018 and 2021 totaling over $5.8 million added 3,680 columbarium niches, 1,400 cremation ground plots, 1,300 casket crypts and 6 memorial walls as well as an interior roadway along with other safety, security and operational elements. WDVA will continue to monitor capacity and pursue additional federal grants to meet Eastern Washington’s burial needs in conjunction with the master plan for site development.
UNCLAIMED VETERANS BURIAL RESOURCES
The Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) works with Veteran service groups, death care industry partners, public administrators and other concerned citizens to ensure the dignified burial of unclaimed Veterans. “Unclaimed Veterans” are defined as those who die with no next of kin to claim their remains and insufficient funds to cover burial expenses. Below is the process for determining eligibility and arranging burial for unclaimed. Washington State Veterans Cemetery interments, complete application available at www.dva.wa.gov and submit to the cemetery.
Cemetery staff will initiate a records request from the National Archives for State Veterans Cemetery interment cases and provide interment eligibility confirmation once determined. Note: There are no costs for interment at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery.
- Interment includes in ground plot (casket),
- columbarium wall (cremation);
- inscribed government marker (granite headstone or niche cover);
- concrete vault (casket);
- military honors;
- perpetual care of grounds.
Preparation of the body (embalming or cremation) are not direct VA covered benefits. Federal dollars may be available to offset costs provided there are no next of kin, if there are surviving NOK the veteran must be service connected to receive financial assistance. Funeral Directors determine benefit eligibility for interments elsewhere by calling National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117.
VA Unclaimed Burial Benefits (Federal) Casket or Urn: An individual or entity that pays for the casket or urn used to inter an unclaimed Veteran, in a VA national cemetery, who died on or after January 10, 2014, may apply for reimbursement of the cost through the National Cemetery Administration. The casket or urn must meet certain standards and must be used for burial or inurnment of the unclaimed Veteran in a national cemetery. Reimbursement is for actual cost, not to exceed an annually established average, published each year in the Federal Register. Review the Unclaimed Veteran Remains – Casket or Urn Reimbursement Program Fact Sheet for instructions on how to apply via VA Form 40-10088. Contact the Veterans Cemetery at 509-299-6280 for assistance.
Burial Allowance: Any individual or entity that pays for the costs associated with preparing the remains of an unclaimed Veteran for burial or inurnment may be eligible for a burial allowance. Submit burial allowance requests through VBA, using VA Form 21P-530, Application for Burial Benefits. VBA currently reimburses these costs at a flat rate of $300. For more information read VBA’s Burial and Plot-Interment Allowances Fact Sheet. ***If a Veteran dies while at a VA facility under authorized VA admission, and the remains are unclaimed, the facility director will ensure proper burial for the Veteran as defined by VHA Handbook 1601B.04, Decedent Affairs, Section 8, “Unclaimed Remains.” If a Veteran dies at a non-VA facility under authorized admission at VA’s expense, and is unclaimed, contact the closest VA healthcare facility to arrange for proper burial of the unclaimed Veteran.
Social Security Death Benefit. A one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased’s record. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased’s record in the month of death. If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but calling ahead and scheduling one, may reduce the time spent waiting to speak to someone.
Washington State. RCW 73.08.070 County Burial of Indigent Deceased Veterans provides county assistance for burial expenses for indigent (claimed or unclaimed) veterans who are county residents and meet policy requirements. Contact local county offices for specific requirements and monetary thresholds. RCW 68.50.230, (2)(a) WDVA certifies eligibility, (c)(i) release of liability.