WASHINGTON, May 26, 2014 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) received a donation of property in Yellowstone County for the new Yellowstone National Cemetery, Montana, which will be dedicated in a Memorial Day Ceremony on May 26, 2014.
"We are pleased to expand burial service to Veterans and their families in Montana," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Yellowstone National Cemetery will help us reach Veterans in the rural parts of Montana who have not previously had reasonable access to a national or State Veterans Cemetery."
VA's National Cemetery Administration will begin burial operations at Yellowstone National Cemetery on May 26, 2014. Effective May 26, Veterans and family members who wish to schedule an interment or inurnment at the cemetery should call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800 535-1117. VA will manage committal services for burials that were previously scheduled by the City of Laurel, Mont.
The property, formerly known as "Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery," is 10.64 acres and located at 55 Buffalo Trail Road, City of Laurel, Mont. The property was donated by Yellowstone County on May 23, 2014.
This new national cemetery is part of VA's Rural Initiative and will serve an estimated Veteran population of 17,567 within a 75-mile radius of their homes. There are three VA-funded state Veterans cemeteries in Montana located in Helena, Miles City, and Missoula. There is one non-VA funded state cemetery in Columbia Falls, Mont.
VA's Rural Initiative is aimed at providing burial access for Veterans not currently served by a burial option at either a VA-funded State cemetery or national cemetery. Other burial grounds are planned to serve Veterans in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Utah, Maine, Idaho and Nevada.
Veterans with a qualifying discharge, their spouses and eligible dependent children may be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents. Burial benefits are 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 or marker.
In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 131 national cemeteries, and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites in 40 states and Puerto Rico. Yellowstone National Cemetery is the first of 8 new national Veterans burial grounds authorized by Congress. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA's national cemeteries.
Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from 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 VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.