Wyoming now has its first national veterans cemetery

Julia LeDoux
October 09, 2020 - 10:48 am
Cheyenne National Cemetery

Department of Veterans Affairs

A new national cemetery has opened in Laramie County, Wyoming.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie unveiled the dedication plaque for Cheyenne National Cemetery on Thursday. 

"Together, all of you, and so many others, have enabled this ground to serve as a national shrine dedicated to the memories of the men and women to whom we all owe a great debt," said Wilkie in a release. "Wyoming has been blessed with an abundance of such men and women — whose collective courage and commitment allow us to flourish as a nation and as a people united." 

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The 5.02-acre cemetery is expected to serve a population of more than 55,000 veterans, their spouses and eligible children within a 75-mile radius of Cheyenne. That includes over 15,000 Wyoming veterans who will now have a VA burial option for the first time. 

Construction of the first phase of the cemetery provides space for more than 1,600 interments including caskets, in-ground burial of cremains, columbaria space for cremains and a memorial wall.

Cheyenne
Department of Veterans Affairs

At full capacity, the cemetery will be able to accommodate just over 7,000 interments.  The closest burial option had been Fort Logan National Cemetery, located 114 miles away in Denver, Colorado. The only in-state veterans cemetery is Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery, run by the State of Wyoming, located 176 miles away in Evansville. 

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Cheyenne National Cemetery is the sixth to open under the VA’s Rural Initiative program, which provides burial access for veterans in rural areas not currently served by a national cemetery within the state or VA grant-funded state cemetery.

Since 2014, VA has dedicated rural cemeteries in Idaho, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin and now Wyoming, with cemeteries in Nevada and Utah currently under construction or planned. 

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com

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