National Cemetery Administration
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Visitation Hours: Open daily during daylight hours.
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed federal holidays, excluding Memorial Day.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces 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 our eligibility web page.
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is located approximately 50 miles south of Chicago in Elwood, Ill. From Chicago O'Hare Airport, take Interstate 294 East to Interstate-55 South, exit #244 Arsenal Road. Turn right (east) and travel approximately eight miles. Turn right at Route 53 (south) and proceed two miles. Turn right on Hoff Road.
Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
On Oct. 3, 1999, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery was dedicated as the 117th national cemetery within the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
When fully developed, this 982-acre cemetery will provide 400,000 burial spaces.
Military Funeral Honors
On Aug. 26, 2003 the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery inaugurated an all-volunteer Memorial Squad to assist in military honors. When possible, the melodic sound of live Taps can be heard echoing throughout the serene cemetery grounds, otherwise, electronic Taps are available at three committal shelters. The DOD program, "Honoring Those Who Served," calls for funeral directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran's family. When requested, a detail consisting of at least two uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the veteran's branch of service provide folding and presentation of the U.S. flag and can also play Taps, either by a high-quality recording or a bugler.
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Three floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Natural cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing.
Artificial flowers may be placed on graves only during the period of Oct. 1 through April 1. Potted plants will be allowed on graves for a period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
Holiday wreaths or blankets are permitted on graves during the holiday season beginning December 1st. All floral decorations will be removed on Martin Luther King Day.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on the graves. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.
No items are permitted to be affixed to a grave marker at any time.
Permanent items removed from graves will be placed in an inconspicuous holding area for one month prior to disposal. If not retrieved by donor, they are then governed by the rules for disposal of federal property.
All items placed on gravesites become the property of the United States Government.
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is not responsible for flowers placed on gravesites and cannot replace items that have been damaged, lost, or stolen.
VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors. Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.
The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery lies in the northwestern area of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, approximately 50 miles south of Chicago. Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is named after the 16th President of the United States and founder of the National Cemeteries. In the midst of the Civil War, on July 17, 1862 President Lincoln's signature enacted the law authorizing the establishment of national cemeteries "... for the soldiers who die in the service of the country." During the Civil War there were 14 national cemeteries opened pursuant of this legislation. President Lincoln's legacy is especially important to the people of Illinois, where he worked and lived. Lincoln is remembered for his successful law practice and elected service as a resident of Illinois. He served as an Illinois State Assemblyman and an Illinois Representative during the 13th Congress, prior to his election as 16th President of the United States. He is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery near the State Capital in Springfield, Illinois, where many additional sites of historical interest are located.
Congressman George E. Sangmeister, a veteran of the Korean War, served as a representative and senator in the state of Illinois, 1973-87, and a U.S. Representative from Illinois, 1988-95. He was instrumental in the acquisition of 982 acres from the former Joliet Arsenal and its redevelopment as Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.
Monument and Memorials
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery has a memorial walk that commemorates soldiers of 20th century wars on 15 memorials.
An 18-foot granite obelisk crowned by a bronze eagle with outstretched wings commemorates the 2,403 Americans who died in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It was donated by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and dedicated May 12, 2001.
The Blue Star Memorial Marker was donated by the District VIII Garden Club of Illinois and dedicated on September 15, 2000. The marker is a tribute to American men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve their country. Its symbolism dates to World War II when families of servicemen and women displayed a square flag decorated with a blue star in their windows to signify that a loved one was in the armed forces.
Medal of Honor Recipients
First Sergeant Theodore Hyatt, (Civil War), Company D, 127th Illinois Infantry, 2nd Division, 15th Army Corps. Battle of Vicksburg, May 22, 1863. (Section 1, Grave 1613)
Congressman George E. Sangmeister interred Oct. 11, 2007. (Section 1, Grave 2)
Educational content is being developed for this national cemetery. New materials will be posted when the information becomes available. For additional information on the Veterans Legacy Program or the NCA History Program, please visit the web page for the Veterans Legacy Program and the NCA History page. Thank you for your interest in learning about the National Cemetery Administration.