National Veterans Cemeteries in Florida

    By Lauren Tjaden

    Service and sacrifice to our nation.

    The military and veterans know all about that.

    Fulfilling your duty can mean leaving your family behind. Sometimes you miss birthdays. Sometimes you miss births.

    You might end up in a strange country that’s scorching hot and mostly the color of dust. You might have a job like scrubbing floors or digging ditches.

    There’s even the possibility that you may have to put your life on the line.

    That’s what service and sacrifice to our Nation means, that’s what it’s made of.

    And that’s what the National Cemetery Administration is committed to honoring, by providing Veterans and their eligible family members with final resting places in national shrines, with lasting tributes.

    Florida is home to nine National Veterans Cemeteries, solemn, beautiful places where family and visitors can reflect, remember and respect.

    Here’s information about them, as well as the requirements to be interred in one.

    Who Can be Buried in a National Cemetery?

    According to Veterans Affairs, “Burial in a Veterans Affairs National Cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable, and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death.

    A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor 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.

    VA provides the gravesite, grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, government headstone or marker, U.S. burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate and perpetual care of the gravesite at no cost to the family.

    For veterans not buried in a VA National Cemetery, VA provides headstones, markers or medallions to commemorate their service. In 2017, VA honored more than 361,892 Veterans and their loved ones with memorial benefits in national, state, tribal and private cemeteries.

    Information on VA burial benefits is available from local Veterans Affairs National Cemetery offices, from the Internet at cem.va.gov, or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at any open VA National Cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.”

    Here's a list of Florida National Cemeteries and more information from the National Cemetery Administration.


    Florida National Cemeteries


    Barrancas National Cemetery

    This historic, sprawling cemetery features graceful trees, shaded walkways, and benches where one can sit and reflect. Nestled within Pensacola Naval Air Station’s 8,423-acre grounds, the veterans cemetery has a storied past. It’s the final resting place of British aviators, Civil War casualties, and a woman named ‘Ga-ah’ who was the second wife of Apache Chief Geronimo.

    Rosamond Johnson, Jr. rests here, as well. He was the first African-American from Escambia County to die in the Korean War, killed in action in 1950 after carrying two wounded men to safety, for which he received the Purple Heart posthumously. Johnson joined the military at age 15 and was killed at age 17.
    Currently about 44,000 veterans are interred at Barrancas Cemetery.

    Visitors should note Barrancas National Cemetery is located within Naval Air Station Pensacola, an active-duty military base, and access to the veterans cemetery is dependent on access to the Naval Air Station. The hours and requirements for base access can change on short notice, so please check the Station’s visitor information website and their homepage at for notifications and/or alerts. For more information, please call their Pass and Tag (building 777) telephone number at (850) 452-4153 or, in the event that line does not work, the Headquarters Quarterdeck at (850) 452-4785 or 4786

    This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.

    Address: Naval Air Station, 1 Cemetery Road, Pensacola, FL 32508,
    Phone: 850-453-4108
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/barrancas.asp
    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day.
    Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
     

    Bay Pines National Cemetery

    Visitors to Bay Pines are greeted by a towering monument constructed of pink Etowah marble, built in 1937 and dedicated to "the memory of those who served their country." Situated on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Center in Pinellas County, just a skip northwest of St. Petersburg, the veterans cemetery is marked by stately oaks and winding roads.

    In 1933, the cemetery officially opened as a 21-acre burial ground for those who died in the Bay Pines hospital, and became a national cemetery in 1984.
    The cemetery has space available for cremated remains, and may be able to accommodate casketed remains in the same gravesite of previously interred family members.

    Address: 10000 Bay Pines Boulevard North, St. Petersburg, FL 33708
    Phone: 727-319-6479
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/baypines.asp
    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (excluding federal holidays). On Memorial Day, the office is open until 7:00 p.m.
    Visitation Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk.
     

    Cape Canaveral National Cemetery

    Palm trees highlight the entrance to this new, 318-acre cemetery in Mims, which promises to serve the burial needs of more than 163,000 Veterans for the next 100 years

    Legendary Tuskegee Airman Edwin T. Cowan (1920-2009), who served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, was reinterred at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in 2019 with full military honors.

    The veterans cemetery offers in-ground burial space for casketed remains, as well as in-ground burial space and above ground columbaria for cremated remains.
    Address:
    5525 U.S. Highway 1 North, Mims, 32754.
    Phone: 321-383-2638,
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/capecanaveral.asp  
    Office Hours:
    Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    wall gravestones at Florida National Cemetery

    Established on June 1, 1988, this silent place is the second-most active cemetery in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration. ‘Active’ in the sense that 131,000 veterans and their dependents now at rest here are joined by as many as two dozen more every single day. With more than 7,000 burials each year, the best calculations anticipate the Florida National Cemetery will reach capacity by 2030.

    - Gary McKechnie for VISIT FLORIDA


    Florida National Cemetery

    Encompassing over 500 acres, this gorgeous cemetery is situated within the Withlacoochee State Forest, some 50 miles north of Tampa. It boasts a Memorial Pathway lined with over 50 memorials honoring America’s veterans. The main assembly area is dominated by an open colonnade, often used for Veterans Day and Memorial ceremonies. Since opening for interments in 1988, it’s become one of the busiest cemeteries in the Nation.

    This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.

    For more information, check out this article: QUIET HONOR AT THE FLORIDA NATIONAL CEMETERY IN BUSHNELL
    Address:
    6502 S.W. 102nd Avenue, Bushnell, FL 33513
    Phone: 352-793-7740,
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/florida.asp
    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
    Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
     

    Jacksonville National Cemetery

    This new, 526-acre national cemetery, located north of Jacksonville International Airport, vows to fulfill veterans' burial needs for more than 100 years. It provides a needed local burial option for veterans in northern Florida, as St. Augustine National Cemetery closed to new interments in 1997.

    This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains

    Address: 4083 Lannie Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218,
    Phone: 904-766-5222,
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/jacksonville.asp
    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays.
    Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset. Open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Memorial Day.

     

    Sarasota National Cemetery

    Boasting a generous 295-acres, this new, national cemetery will serve veterans’ needs for the next 50 years. It’s complete with a public information center complex, an electronic gravesite locator and public restrooms, a memorial walkway and a donations area, as well as two committal shelters.

    Highlighting the cemetery is the stunning, 2,800-seat ceremonial amphitheater known as ‘Patriot Plaza,’ filled with world-class art. Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., you can enjoy guided tours of the Plaza, whose mission is to Honor Service, Inspire Patriotism, and Embrace Freedom.’ No reservations are needed.

    The cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains. A columbarium is now available.

    Address: 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL 34241
    Phone: 877-861-9840 Or 941-922-7200
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/sarasota.asp
    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays.
    Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
     

    South Florida National Cemetery

    You’ll find the 338-acre South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth in Palm Beach County, a peaceful, lush place set among lakes. Opened for burials in 2007, it’s the fifth national cemetery built in Florida and will serve veterans’ needs for the next 50 years.

    This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed remains, cremated remains and a Memorial Wall for memorialization.

    Address: 6501 S. State Road 7, Lake Worth, FL 33449
    Phone: 561-649-6489,
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/southflorida.asp
    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays.
    Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.


    Saint Augustine National Cemetery

    Designated a national cemetery in 1881, the historic St. Augustine National Cemetery is set in the city of St. Augustine, the oldest city in the Nation. Before it became a national veterans cemetery, the site played a pivotal part in the flamboyant history of St. Augustine, founded in the 17th century as a Spanish colonial possession. You can read the land’s fascinating story here in the historical information section.

    This cemetery is closed to new interments; the only interments being accepted are interments for veterans or eligible family members in an existing gravesite.

    Periodically, burial space may become available due to a canceled reservation or when a disinterment has been completed. When either of these scenarios occurs, the gravesite is made available to another eligible veteran on a first-come, first-served basis. Since there is no way to know in advance when a gravesite may become available, please contact the cemetery at the time of need to inquire whether space is available.

    Address: 104 Marine Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084
    Phone: 904-766-5222
    Web: cem.va.gov/CEM/cems/nchp/staugustine.asp
    Office Hours: Contact Jacksonville National Cemetery at (904) 766-5222 for information.
    Visitation Hours: Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Memorial Day.

     

    Tallahassee National Cemetery

    Situated on 250 generous acres dotted with trees, Tallahassee National Cemetery began burials in 2015, and will serve over 83,000 area Veterans in years to come.

    This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.

    Address: 5015 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, FL 32311
    Phone: 850-402-8941
    Web: cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/tallahassee.asp
    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Places to Remember

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