Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery
In 1987 the Department of Veterans Affairs identified the Cleveland area as one of 10 areas of the country most in need of burial space for veterans, based upon veteran population. In 1993, a 274-acre site was selected on Rawiga Road in Rittman. Burial operations began on June 19, 2000.
The initial construction developed approximately 60 acres and includes 15,900 full-casket grave sites, 3,000 sites for cremated remains, an entrance area, an administration/maintenance complex and two committal shelters.
The cemetery was officially designated the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, after the part of the Northwest Territory formerly known as the Connecticut Western Reserve.
Most veterans who have been discharged from active duty military service under other than dishonorable conditions are entitled to burial in a National Cemetery. There are time restrictions for enlisted personnel who began their active service after September 7, 1980, and officer personnel who entered service after October 17, 1981. They must have completed 24 months of continuous service or the full period for which called to active duty, whichever is shorter.
- Any member of the U.S. Armed Forces who dies while serving on active duty
- Any person who has retired from the Army or Air National Guard or from the Reserves
- Minor dependent children of an eligible active-duty member or veteran who are unmarried and under the age of 21
- The spouse of an eligible active duty member or veteran, even if the veteran or active duty member is not interred in a National Cemetery
- Veterans prior to completing 24 months of continuous service
If the spouse of an eligible veteran passes away before the veteran, the spouse may be interred at a National Cemetery. Space for the veteran will be reserved in the same site.
There is no charge for any service provided by a National Cemetery, including grave space, a grave liner, the opening and closing of the grave, an upright headstone or flat marker and all perpetual grave care.
Because there are no advanced arrangements to be made, when death occurs the next of kin of the decedent should contact a funeral home, providing a copy of the veteran's discharge document or whatever military service-related documents are available. The funeral director will then contact the National Cemetery office to arrange interment. The following should also be provided:
- Complete name of the veteran
- Date and place of birth and death
- Dates of service
- Military rank and service
- Social security numbers
- Veterans Affairs (VA) Claim number
If all of this information is not available, as much as possible should be provided. Because the military service of each veteran must be verified, failure to provide the required data may result in a delay of burial.