Kentucky's State Veterans Cemeteries

16,000th Interment

 at Kentucky’s State Veterans Cemeteries

Veterans and dependents interred at all five state veterans cemeteries since first one opened in 2004.

Total Includes 12,357 Veterans, 26 KIA from Iraq/Afghanistan


            RADCLIFF, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2021) – This week, WWII Navy veteran Daniel E. Dowdle became the 16,000th interment in the 17-year history of Kentucky’s state veterans cemeteries.

            “We are deeply honored and humbled to provide a secure, dignified, and sacred place for so many veterans,” said Keith L. Jackson, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. “The staff at our cemeteries work very hard to ensure our veterans cemeteries are built and maintained to the highest standards.  For beauty, for dignity, for security, I would rate our cemeteries as high as any state or federal veterans cemeteries in the country.”

The very first interment, that of Staff Sergeant Lemuel Graham, took place on March 1, 2004, at the then brand-new Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West in Hopkinsville.

The goal of KDVA’s Cemetery Program was to build five state veterans cemeteries across Kentucky, spaced so that every veteran’s loved ones would be within 75 miles of a secure, honorable, dignified place to rest.

Kentucky Veterans Cemetery (KVC) Central, in Radcliff, opened in 2007; KVC North, in Williamstown, opened in 2008; KVC North East, in Grayson, opened in 2010; and KVC South East opened in Hyden in 2018.

“Our state veterans cemeteries are a point of pride for Kentucky,” said Governor Andy Beshear. “They are tangible proof of not only how much we value and honor our veterans, but the meticulous care and pride Kentuckians take in building to last, and building to please the eye.”

Kentucky’s state veterans cemeteries have interred veterans from the Civil War to Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans who received the Medal of Honor, and active-duty service members killed in action. Each and every one receives full military honors at interment. KDVA maintains funds in its Burial Honors Program to ensure that.

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Phased Re-Opening of KDVA State Veterans Cemeteries

UPDATE: In accordance with the new statewide mask mandate from Governor Andy Beshear, all visitors to Kentucky Veterans Cemeteries MUST wear face masks while on cemetery property unless they remain in their cars.  Thank you for your cooperation.

NOTE: Guidance is changing on a daily bases, so it is best to call your State Veterans Cemetery for the current and most up-to-date information.

On June 1, KDVA began a phased re-opening of our five State Veterans Cemeteries. 

In a Memo to State Veterans Cemetery Directors, KDVA Commissioner Keith Jackson detailed the Phase I restrictions and protections for visitation, services and burial honors.

Those include:

  • The Administration Building will be open to visitors only to the extent they can maintain six-feet social distancing.
  • Directors will provide masks for all employees and offer masks to all visitors.
  • Hand sanitizers will be provided at the entrance to the Administration Building.  All staff and visitors must use hand sanitizer.
  • Memorial services will be conducted in accordance with industry-specific guidance, including sanitizing chairs and the podium in the Committal Shelter before each service.
  • Gatherings in the committal shelter will be limited to service participants and family, with seating and standing maintaining physical distancing. Attendees are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
  • Rifle teams for Military Honors will maintain physical distancing from each other, the services and other guests. Military Honors team members folding and presenting the flag will wear masks and gloves.
  • Funeral directors will place flowers on the gravesite.
  • Visitors to gravesites do not need to wear masks if they are members of the same family and do not interact with staff.
It is the intent of KDVA to move from Healthy at Home to Healthy at work while keeping our employees, veterans and their families healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Cemeteries Branch will continue to provide interments and perpetual care for all qualified veterans and eligible family members in a dignified and compassionate manner worthy of the respect and honor they richly deserve.


The mission of KDVA's Cemetery Branch is to ensure dignified interment for veterans in a sacred space that stands as a tribute to their service for the nation and the Commonwealth. KDVA currently operates five State Veterans Cemeteries across the state.

Photos from Memorial Day Ceremonies at State Veterans Cemeteries

New Gold Star Sibling License Plate Available January 4, 2016

Beginning January 4, 2016, a Gold Star Sibling license plate will become available to individuals whose sibling died while serving the country in the United States Armed Forces. To honor their deceased loved ones, the creation of the plate was established by House Bill 209, passed by the 2015 Kentucky General Assembly.  The Gold Star Sibling plate will be available for passenger vehicles and motorcycles. For purposes of this legislation, “sibling” means a sibling by blood, a sibling by half-blood, a sibling by adoption, or a stepsibling.

As with other military plates, there are restrictions.  To receive the plate, a Gold Star Sibling Affidavit must be completed and submitted to the Kentucky Department of Veterans’ Affairs (KDVA).  Applicants must include full name, address, email and phone number, as well as verification of the service member's death while on active duty.  Such verification can be a DD Form 1300 or other third-party verification such as contemporary newspaper articles.  KDVA will confirm eligibility and provide a letter of qualification directly to the county clerk office on behalf of the license plate applicant.

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According to Kentucky law, the individual must be a Kentucky veteran for burial at one of the state veteran cemeteries.  Examples include: born in KY, served at one of the U.S. military installations in KY, lived in KY, home of record in KY.

Hours of Operation

Kentucky's State Veterans Cemeteries are open to the public 24 hours, seven days a week.  Normal business hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, not including state holidays.  Interments take place on non-holiday weekdays only.  Saturdays, Sundays and holidays are reserved for families and loved ones of those interred to visit in peace and quiet.


Total interment services include:

  • Furnishing grave or columbarium space
  • Opening and closing the grave
  • Providing the interment site with perpetual care
  • Supplying a suitable marker or headstone
  • Furnishing an optional concrete grave liner for casketed burials

In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, this Department’s services, assistance, and activities are available to all without regard to race, color, or national origin.