Great Lakes National Cemetery
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Committal shelter at Great Lakes National Cemetery.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and in-ground burial of cremated remains. Cremated remains may be placed in the above ground columbarium wall.
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.
» Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery
From Detroit Metro Airport and points south of Detroit: Take I-94 West to I-275 North, about 18 miles to I-96 West toward Lansing about 18 miles. Take U.S.23 North to Flint. Take Thompson Road Exit 84, turn right on Thompson Road, go to Fenton Road, turn left on Fenton Road, go to Baldwin Road, turn right on Baldwin Road, go to Holly Road, turn right on Holly Road, go to Belford Road, turn left on Belford Road cross the railroad tracks. The cemetery is on the right after crossing the railroad tracks.
From Ann Arbor and points South: Take U.S. 23 North toward Flint. Take Thompson Road Exit 84, and follow the directions from that point above.
From points East of Detroit: Take I-75 N to Holly Road (exit 108). Turn left onto Holly Road then turn left onto Belford Road.
From Lansing and points West: Take I-69 E toward Flint, merge onto I-75 S (exit 133) toward Ann Arbor/Detroit. Take Holly Road (exit 108). Turn right onto Holly Road, turn left onto Belford Road.
From Bishop Airport, Flint: Merge onto I-75 S (exit 133) toward Ann Arbor/Detroit. Stay on I-75 to Detroit. Take Holly Road (exit 108). Turn right onto Holly Road, turn left onto Belford Road.
From Saginaw, Bay City, and points North: Take I-75 S toward Flint and follow the directions from Flint.
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.
For information on scheduled burials in our national cemeteries, please go to the Daily Burial Schedule.
Any eligible person may be interred at any national cemetery that has available grave space.
Our Memorial Day Ceremony is held at 1:00 p.m. the Sunday before the federal holiday. The Veterans Day Ceremony is held on Veterans Day at 11:00 a.m. Both programs are held at the cemetery assembly area and are sponsored by the Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council.
Upon completion of construction Phase 1B on August 1, 2010, Great Lakes National Cemetery has a fully functional Public Information Center, Administration Building, and service and maintenance facility.
Services are held in two committal shelters and services are provided for an average of 11 burials each business day. Phase 1A and 1B provide a total of 4,401 in-ground cremation burial sites, 8,768 columbarium niche sites, 4,650 traditional casket burial sites, and 18,080 double-depth pre-set crypts. Columbarium B has an adjacent committal shelter for services. It is not suited for presentation of military honors.
Funeral honors are provided by the appropriate branch of service when requested by either the funeral director or next-of-kin. The Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council supports volunteer veteran service organization units that provide the rifle volleys in support of the Department of Defense funeral honors team.
Families with special accommodation needs may contact the cemetery staff to see if those needs can be met.
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
We welcome and encourage fresh-cut flowers throughout the year and provide flower containers for gravesite display. Cemetery visitors are free to use the containers located in receptacles placed throughout the cemetery. Once the blooms are spent or damaged by weather, they are removed. They may also be removed for routine mowing or other maintenance.
Artificial flowers are only allowed after the end of mowing operations in the fall on October 15 and must be removed when mowing operations resume in the spring beginning the first week of March.
On Easter and Memorial Day, artificial flowers may be placed on gravesite 10 days before through 10 days following the holiday. During the holiday season, from December 1 through January 20, seasonal floral items and gravesite blankets, no larger than two feet by three feet, may be placed on gravesites.
To maintain the dignity of the cemetery, commemorative items, potted plants, balloons, pinwheels, glass items, votive lights, statues, shepherd's hooks and permanent plantings, among other items, are not allowed.
No item or object may be attached to a headstone or marker in a national cemetery. Animals may eat fresh flowers and arrangements.
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.
Great Lakes National Cemetery is the second national cemetery built in Michigan and the 122nd in the national cemetery system.
Great Lakes National Cemetery is located approximately 50 miles northwest of downtown Detroit, in Holly Township, Oakland County. The cemetery borders Fagan Lake, and is located on a portion of a land grant from the Federal Government to Terrance Fagan in 1836. Historically, the property served as farmland until it was acquired by the National Cemetery Administration in 2002.
In the 20th century, the property was purchased by Bryson Dexter Horton, a Spanish-American War veteran-turned-industrialist who invented the "Square D" switch. Horton's invention dramatically improved electrical safety, by encasing the switch in steel and protecting users from the live electrical current. Mr. Horton constructed a small house on the property in 1927, and reportedly entertained such preeminent locals as Henry and Edsel Ford, who both hunted and fished there.
Great Lakes National Cemetery was established in 2005, and the first burial took place on October 17 of that year.
Medal of Honor Recipients
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Recipients receive the Medal of Honor from the president on behalf of Congress. It was first awarded during the Civil War and eligibility criteria for the Medal of Honor have changed over time.
Recipients buried or memorialized here:
Private First Class Robert Ernest Simanek (Korean War). Simanek was born in Detroit, Michigan and worked in the automobile industry before joining the Marine Corps in August 1951. He sailed for Korea less than a year later and joined Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, First Marine Division. On August 17, 1952, during the Battle of Bunker Hill (a prolonged series of battles for frontline outposts), PFC Simanek's unit was ambushed while moving to occupy Outpost Irene and forced to seek cover in a trench line. During the fighting, Simanek threw himself on an enemy grenade to save his comrades and was severely wounded. He was awarded for the Medal of honor for this action. He had previously earned two bronze stars for action in Korea. Simanek returned to the United States and was medically discharged. President Dwight Eisenhower presented him the Medal of Honor on October 27, 1953. He earned a degree in business management after his service. The Department of Navy named an expeditionary sea base in his honor, USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7) in 2021. He died on August 1, 2022 and is interred with his wife in Section 35, Site 341.
We are developing educational content for this national cemetery, and will post new materials as they become available. Visit the Veterans Legacy Program and NCA History Program for additional information. Thank you for your interest.