Future Tri-Cities Cemetery

Additional Information

Presentation (May 22, 2024 Town Hall)

Agency Overview Video

Washington Veterans Cemetery - Medical Lake, WA Video (KC Sealock, Videographer)


The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs is interested in building a new State Veterans Cemetery in the Tri-Cities region.

The State Veteran Cemetery Program complements the Federal VA’s National Cemeteries by aiding states, territories, and federally recognized tribal governments in providing burial options in areas with too small a Veteran population for a National Cemetery. 

WDVA is looking for land that meets criteria laid out by the Federal VA State Cemetery Grants Program. Proposed sites will be considered based on several criteria, including access to public roadways, availability of utilities, and suitability of the land.  The agency is currently searching for 100 acres at the recommendation of the National Cemetery Association.

You can learn more about the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs at https://dva.wa.gov/ and find out more about the State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake at https://dva.wa.gov/veterans-service-members-and-their-families/cemetery.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: When will the Tri-Cities Cemetery Open, how long will this process take?

Answer: Establishing a State Veterans Cemetery is a multi-year endeavor.  Since holding a town hall on May 22, 2024, we know the community is interested in seeing a Veterans Cemetery placed in their area we, so we have moved on to the next steps which include:

    • Acquire the land, (the title must be held by WDVA).
    • Apply for and receive a State Veterans Cemetery Grant from the Federal VA.  (It is important to note that there is never enough funding for all the state cemetery applications to be funded at the Federal level.  It could take several cycles for our Cemetery to be a high enough priority at the Federal VA to be approved.)
    • Pass legislation at the State level granting WDVA the authority to operate the cemetery.
    • Develop a master plan for a Tri-Cities Veterans Cemetery. 
    • Receive authorization and funding from the State Legislature for 10% of the cemetery build costs and for ongoing operations of the cemetery (equipment, staff, utilities, etc).
    • Begin construction.

As an example, WDVA started the conversation to build the Medical Lake Veterans Cemetery in 2005.  State Legislation was passed in 2007, construction started in 2009, and the cemetery opened in 2010.

Question: Where will the Tri-Cities Cemetery be located?

Answer: We are currently looking for land in the greater Tri-Cities area, an exact location has not been determined.

Question: How much land is needed for the Cemetery?

Answer: The Federal VA State Veterans Cemetery Grant Program recommends at least 100 acres to allow ample space for future growth and expansion.

Question: What kind of land are you looking for?

Answer: State Veterans Cemeteries come in all shapes and sizes; however, some elements are necessary such as road access for the public, ability to connect to power, connections to sewer or ability to put in a septic system, and water at least for administrative functions.  There are several national and state Veterans Cemeteries that are not irrigated, so that is a possibility as well.

Question: Who is eligible to be interred at a State Veterans Cemetery?

Answer: Eligibility for interment in a State Veterans Cemetery mirrors that of a National Veterans Cemetery.  In general, the following individuals are eligible for interment:

  • All members of the uniformed services 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 the National Cemetery Administration’s eligibility web page.
  • There is no requirement to be a resident of Washington State. 

Question: What can I do to help?

Answer: Let us know if you are aware of land that is available or may be available in the Tri-Cities area at CemeteryTri-Cities@dva.wa.gov.  You can also share this information with other Veterans or Veteran Advocates in your area!

Question: Is there a Cemetery Committee or other group I can join?

Answer: Not yet!  Our first focus is identifying land.  After land is identified, we may reach back out to the Tri-Cities Veterans Community to determine whether there is interest in establishing a more formal local committee to act in an advisory capacity to WDVA. 

For now, the best way to stay connected is to sign up for our Proposed Tri-Cities Cemetery email list by clicking this link: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADVA/subscriber/new or by visiting our Proposed Tri-Cities Veterans Cemetery website at https://www.dva.wa.gov/tri-cities-cemetery.

Question: Do Armed Forces License Plates support State Veterans Cemeteries?

Answer: Currently, Armed Forces License Plates pay for approximately 50% of the operating costs of the Medical Lake State Veterans Cemetery.  Each time a plate is purchased or renewed, $28 comes to WDVA’s Stewardship Fund which supports the Medical Lake Veterans Cemetery and programs serving Veterans without homes.  Right now, the plates do not generate enough revenue to support two State Veterans Cemeteries; however, if additional plates are sold, that could change!

Question: Can I donate to the Cemetery?

Answer: We don’t have the ability to accept small donations to the Tri-Cities Veterans Cemetery at this time*; however, If individuals would like to donate to our existing cemetery at Medical Lake, we can accept them by mail or credit card.

Medical Lake Cemetery Donations by mail

Please send your donation to:

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs
PO Box 41150
Olympia, WA 98504-1150

Please identify Medical Lake Cemetery

Online Medical Lake Cemetery Donations

Online Donation Form - complete the online donation process with a credit card or bank account. Be sure to indicate that your donation will be going to one of the following funds:

Please identify "08V – Veterans Stewardship Account" and the fund or flag type in the "Donation Purpose:" field.

To donate to our annual Holiday Remembrance Event:  08V – Veterans Stewardship Account – HOLMCL in the "Donation Purpose:" field.

Purchasing an Armed Forces License Plate is another way to support cemetery operations at Medical Lake now and a Tri-Cities Cemetery in the future.  

*Please contact us at CemeteryTri-Cities@dva.wa.gov if you have a large financial donation or if you would like to discuss a land donation.