In 1999 the Colorado Legislature authorized the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado to honor Colorado veterans and their families. The United States Veterans Administration provided a grant to build the cemetery. Construction began in June 2001.
The cemetery opened in Grand Junction, Colorado, Sept. 5, 2002, with a capacity of 3,337 units: 1,758 units for casketed remains and 1,579 units for cremated remains, of which 861 were columbarium niches. Additionally, 775 memorial garden plots available for veterans whose remains were scattered, not recovered or buried at sea.
Since 2011, the cemetery has improved infrastructure and expanded, adding 14 new columbaria and providing an additional 2,352 niches and 1,979 additional gravesites as well as improvements to the irrigation and retention ponds. Two of the added columbaria are double-sided, designed to reduce footprint and allow for future land space needs. The cemetery’s capacity can continue to expand, as necessary, to meet future needs.
“As Americans, we have a responsibility to remember our veterans and their families who sacrificed to make victory and freedom possible,” Deputy Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Michael Bruno said. “The people of the State of Colorado have forged a commitment from that responsibility.”
The cemetery is located on 22.5 acres at 2830 Riverside Parkway (formerly D Road, just east of the Grand Junction Regional Center and south of the Grand Junction Readiness Center.
The cemetery is intended to be a dignified final resting place for Colorado’s veterans of the Armed Forces, their spouses and eligible dependents. It has been designed to provide a place of meditation and quiet contemplation for veterans and their families and friends. There are memorial walks on either side of the creek running northeast to southwest through the cemetery. There are landscaped areas, which are enhanced 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 and their families for answering the call to duty and faithfully and honorably serving the United States of America and the State of Colorado.