North Dakota Veterans Cemetery Grant Marks VA Milestone
WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee (SVAC), earlier this month announced a $1,860,775 grant to expand the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan.
Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acknowledged the award’s significance, as it represents the billionth dollar the National Cemetery Administration has disbursed through its Veterans Cemetery Grant Program.
“Improving access to burial and memorial benefits not only pays tribute to America’s heroes, but it also allows family and friends to visit their loved ones," said Senator Cramer. "I can think of no better place than North Dakota’s veterans cemetery to help the VA hit this milestone.”
Last Congress, Senator Cramer made reforming VA burial guidelines a priority. He crafted and advanced the Burial Equity for Guards and Reserves Act, which is now law, to ensure state veterans’ cemeteries that bury Reservists and National Guard members could qualify for federal grants. Throughout the legislative process, he urged the VA to extend state cemetery burial eligibility to all servicemembers, drove awareness of the issue at SVAC hearings, and penned an op-ed about the bill’s impacts for veterans and their families.
Additionally, in August 2022, the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery in Mandan held its 30-year commemoration ceremony. Senator Cramer and VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn were among those who participated in the event.
“It was my distinct honor to speak at the 30th anniversary of the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery at Mandan last August, a cemetery established in partnership with the state using VA grant funds,” said Under Secretary Quinn. “In the past 30 years, the thousands of North Dakotan Veterans buried there have made it truly hallowed ground. So I find it particularly fitting that it was another grant to this same cemetery, announced just two weeks ago, which got us across the $1 billion threshold in total funding provided by the VA to states, territories, and Tribes for Veterans cemeteries since 1978. We look forward to continuing this partnership to ensure all Veterans continue to have easy access to their burial and memorial benefits, in North Dakota and all across the United States.”
Since its establishment in 1978, the Veterans Cemetery Grant Program has awarded 475 grants to 122 state, territorial, and tribal veterans cemeteries, supporting over 800,000 total burials.
Scott Haugen had more on the grant program you can read HERE.