The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration today announced its purchase of 5.04 acres from the city of Cheyenne for $64,099, to establish a national cemetery near Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“We are proud to announce the shared goal of honoring our nation’s Veterans by expanding burial service to Veterans, their spouses and eligible family members,” said Interim Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ronald E. Walters. “This national cemetery will help us reach Veterans in rural parts of Wyoming who have not previously had reasonable access to a national or state Veterans cemetery.”
The land for this new cemetery is located at Tract 2, Hildreth Subdivision, Cheyenne which is near the USDA High Plains Grasslands Research Station. The new cemetery will serve nearly 22,000 Veterans, their spouses and eligible family members located in the vicinity of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The new cemetery will become the first VA national cemetery in the state. The state-run Oregon Trail Veterans Cemetery is located 176.6 miles north in Evansville, Wyoming, and is open to new interments.
VA will develop the new cemetery as part of the National Cemetery Administration Rural Initiative program. The initiative’s primary goal is to build small national cemeteries in states without an open national cemetery. Of the 22 million Veterans nationwide, 5.3 million live in rural communities. Between fiscal years 2006-2014, there was a 7 percent increase in VA-enrollment by Veterans who reside in rural areas.
VA will construct in-ground casket and cremation burial sites, above-ground columbarium niches, a memorial wall, flagpoles, a memorial walkway, roads and other infrastructure.
Burial in a VA national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable, and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death.
A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor 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.
VA provides the gravesite, grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, government headstone or marker, U.S. burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate and perpetual care of the gravesite at no cost to the family.
VA operates 135 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites in 40 states and Puerto Rico. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s national cemeteries. VA also provides funding to establish, expand, improve and maintain 105 Veterans cemeteries in 47 states and territories including tribal trust lands, Guam, and Saipan. For Veterans not buried in a VA national cemetery, VA provides headstones, markers or medallions to commemorate their service. In 2016, VA honored more than 345,000 Veterans and their loved ones with memorial benefits in national, state, tribal and private cemeteries.
Information on VA burial benefits is available from local VA national cemetery offices, from the Internet at www.cem.va.gov, or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at any open VA national cemetery, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.