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Wyo. could get veterans cemetery

Aug 23, 2013 - Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking to buy land next to or within a cemetery in the Cheyenne area to establish what would be Wyoming's first veterans cemetery.

Right now, the national veterans cemetery closest to Cheyenne is 110 miles away in the Denver area. A veterans cemetery in Cheyenne would make things easier for relatives of Wyoming veterans, said Terry Shepard, club manager for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1881 in Cheyenne.

"It would be great to have a cemetery here," Shepard said. "It will make it a lot easier for those who want to say goodbye."

The VA has identified eight cities for a program to increase burial options for veterans in rural areas.

The VA is looking to buy three to five acres within 15 miles of downtown Cheyenne. VA spokeswoman Josephine Schuda declined to say which locations the agency was looking at buying in the Cheyenne area but said the goal is to acquire the land within a year.

She said the same free burial options and benefits offered in other national veterans cemeteries would be available in Cheyenne. That includes the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag and presidential memorial certificate.

Also, military honors are offered during the funeral services. Eligible spouses and dependents can also be buried in the national cemeteries.

Wyoming officials and veterans groups have frequently lobbied for a veterans cemetery here.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., attempted to introduce legislation in 2002 to designate money for a national veterans cemetery in Cheyenne. Others have sought to have a veterans cemetery near the entrance of F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

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