In 1888, Colonel George W. Steele, Indiana's congressional representative, successfully convinced his colleagues in Washington, D.C. of the need for a Soldier's Home in Grant County. Subsequently, the 31-acre Marion Branch of the National Home opened in 1889 to provide shelter and comfort for the region's veterans. Along with the home, a cemetery was established for the interment of the men who died there. The first burial occurred two years after the home opened in May 1890. For most of its history, the cemetery at the Marion Home has quietly and efficiently cared for the needs of the nation's veterans with few significant changes.
In 1920, the home was renamed Marion Sanatorium and in 1930, administration of the home was transferred to the newly created Veterans Administration. Additional acreage was transferred from the Veterans Health Administration twice in the cemetery's history. Six acres were added in 1974 and six more in 1988. As of 1973, with the passage of the National Cemetery Act, the cemetery became part of the National Cemetery system and its name was changed to Marion National Cemetery.
Marion National Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
Monuments and Memorials
The Remember the Maine monument was erected in 1901 in honor of the lives lost in Cuba's Havana Harbor during the Spanish-American War.
A monument dedicated to the Minnesota 2nd Regiment was erected at the cemetery in 1913.
A commemorative sundial was installed at the cemetery in the early 20th century.
The Carillon bell tower was erected around 1990 as part of the American Veterans international carillon program to provide living memorials in honor of American veterans.
The Vietnam Memorial was erected in 1990 and dedicated to those who fought or died in the Vietnam War.
The Blue Star Memorial Marker was donated by The Garden Club of Marion and Veteran of Foreign Wars San Mateo Post #60 and dedicated on April 23, 2005.