Detail of gate post at Alexandria (VA) National Cemetery; Rows of unknown graves at Memphis National Cemetery; Directional sign post to Fort Gibson National Cemetery
Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served

Marion National Cemetery

Marion, Indiana

Monument, Marion National Cemetery
Photo by James Rosenthal, Historic American
Buildings Survey Photographer

Located on the grounds of the former Marion Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers—now the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System – Marion Campus—Marion National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 8,000 soldiers, including veterans of every major conflict from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The cemetery contains 12 burial sections and features several monuments, including one that honors the sailors who died aboard the U.S.S. Maine in 1898.

In 1888, Colonel George W. Steele, a United States congressman from Indiana, worked to establish a new branch of the National Home to serve Midwestern veterans.  A site three miles south of Marion was selected in part because of the readily available supply of natural gas in the area.  The National Home opened in 1890 on a 31-acre site that featured a picturesque landscape designed to conform to the natural topography.  In 1920, the National Home became the Marion Sanatorium, a neuropsychiatric institution that primarily served World War I veterans, and in 1930, the Veterans Administration took over the facility. 

In order to provide a burial place for residents when they died, the National Home established a cemetery at the east corner of the campus.  The first burials occurred in May 1890, just months after the opening of the home.  The oldest section, Section 1 at the south end of the cemetery, is laid out in concentric rows of graves, while the graves in the newer sections to the north are arranged in straight lines running north and south.  Today the cemetery covers more than 61 acres.  The cemetery office and flagpole are at the northeast corner of the site, and a committal service shelter can be found near Section 9.  The office, which dates to 1905, was originally a barn for the National Home, and the cupola, hoist beam, and the hayloft door are still visible.

Marion National Cemetery
Marion National Cemetery
Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs,
National Cemetery Administration, History Program

The largest memorial in the national cemetery is the Minnesota 2nd Regiment Monument at the circular intersection, just north of Section 1.  The monument consists of a large granite pedestal surmounted by a bronze sculpture of three Union soldiers: one mortally wounded, another standing and carrying a flag, and a third kneeling with rifle ready.  Dedicated about 1913, the memorial provides a key visual and symbolic link between the cemetery and the National Home.  A similar monument is located at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in northern Georgia.  Another monument, “Remember the Maine”, honors those soldiers who died during the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor during the Spanish-American War.  Erected in 1901, the granite monument features a 500-pound shell from the wreck of the U.S.S. Maine.  Other monuments onsite include the Vietnam Memorial, an American Veterans (AMVETS) carillon, a Blue Star Memorial Marker, and a commemorative sundial.

Marion National Cemetery is the final resting place for recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, given for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”
Plan your visit

Marion National Cemetery is located at 1700 East 38th St., on the Marion, IN campus of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.  The cemetery is open for visitation daily from dawn to dusk; the administrative office is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm, and is closed Federal holidays except Memorial Day.  For more information, please contact the cemetery office at 765-674-0284, or see the Department of Veterans Affairs website.  While visiting, please be mindful that our national cemeteries are hallowed ground.  Be respectful to all of our nation’s fallen soldiers and their families.  Additional cemetery policies may be posted on site.

Visitors to Marion National Cemetery may also be interested in the Marion Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (now the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, Marion Campus), part of the National Park Service National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers Travel Itinerary.  The Marion Branch of the National Home was photographed to the standards established by the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey.

Marion National Cemetery was photographed to the standards established by the National Park Service’s Historic American Landscapes Survey.

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