Burial Services for Veterans in Rural Areas
WASHINGTON - The Department
of Veterans Affairs announced today that it is moving forward with a plan to provide burial services for Veterans in rural
areas where there are no available VA national cemeteries, state Veterans cemeteries or tribal Veterans cemeteries.
“VA is committed to improving
service to Veterans in rural areas,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Through an innovative
partnership with existing cemeteries, we will be able to ensure burial for Veterans in more locations that meet the high standards
of national shrines.”
Rural Initiative plan, VA will build small National Veterans Burial Grounds within existing public or private cemeteries in
rural areas where the unserved Veteran population is 25,000 or less within a 75-mile radius.
VA plans to open eight National Veterans Burial Grounds that will
serve Veterans in the areas of Fargo, N.D.; Rhinelander, Wis.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Laurel, Mont.; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Cedar City,
Utah; Calais, Maine; and Elko, Nev.
VA officials will announce further details about the eight new burial
grounds as information becomes available. This new initiative will make VA burial options available to more than 136,000 Veterans
and their eligible dependents.
A National Veterans Burial Ground will be a small, VA-managed section of three to five acres within an existing public
or private cemetery. VA will provide a full range of burial options and control the operation and maintenance of these lots.
These sections will be held to the same “national shrine” standards as VA-run national cemeteries.
VA is still evaluating suitable sites for its Rural Initiative. In
Laurel, Mont., VA is exploring with local officials the feasibility of acquiring a portion of the Yellowstone County Veterans
Cemetery to establish as a National Veterans Burial Ground.
VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. Nearly
four million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict -- from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts
in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are buried in VA’s national cemeteries on more than 19,000 acres.
Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable,
their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Other burial benefits available for
all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial
flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone, grave marker or medallion.
See your VSO for more details.