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National Cemetery Administration

Site Elements/Features - Entrance Area


The primary importance of the main entrance to the national cemetery is to create for each visitor a sense of arrival at a special place. The Entrance Area to the national cemetery should be an architectural or landscape architectural feature that portrays the significance and dignity of a national cemetery without overpowering the visitor. The design should incorporate landscaping, such as trees and low maintenance plantings. The use of color in plantings should be considered in the design solution. The entrance is symbolic of an entrance to a national "shrine" and provides a link to historical or traditional national cemetery "entrance gates" without directly imitating their form. The entrance area design and use of materials should be consistent with other cemetery structures.

Some method of restricting vehicular access is desirable. Gates, if they are an integral part of the design, or a chain are useful for this purpose. Provide double width entrance, divided for traffic control at the "entry gate," if not for the entire length of the entrance road. Utilize traffic control as necessary to provide safe entrance from the approach road. Provide vertical curbing or other barrier to keep cars from driving over plantings. Changes in color, texture, and size of paving material will provide a feeling of transition for visitors arriving or departing the cemetery.

Cemetery identification is a component of the entrance area. The entrance area must incorporate the following elements in its design:

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs Seal, or insignia, at least two feet in diameter;

  • The words "(NAME) National Cemetery," in lettering sufficient to be seen from the public street (approach road).

The design shall also include unobtrusive lighting of the cemetery name.