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Tester: Yellowstone Co. Veterans Cemetery a "Done Deal'

Press Release

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Location: Washington DC

Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after getting the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery in Laurel, Mont., to be recognized as a National Veterans Burial Ground:

"Montanans have worked hard to get national recognition for the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery. Our veterans deserve a resting place close to their families that allows all of America to celebrate their service. I am honored to be part of the effort and will keep fighting to make sure all Montana veterans receive the recognition and support they earned."

Tester, Montana's only member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, has made national recognition of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery a major cause. In June, he announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs was working with Yellowstone County to establish part of the county's veterans' cemetery as a National Veterans Burial Ground.

National recognition means the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will fund and maintain a portion of the cemetery.

"Montana veterans deserve a national cemetery of their own and Jon's efforts on their behalf paid off once again today," said Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy. "Jon is a passionate advocate for Montana veterans and today's news reflects his long-standing dedication to making sure our veterans receive the support and benefits they earned."

Tester will receive an update on the cemetery from VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro this week.

The Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery, which serves 16,000 veterans, is located along Buffalo Trail Road north of Laurel.

A timeline of Tester's efforts on Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery is available below:

3/7/2012 Tester meets with VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Steve L. Muro, to get an update on the rural veterans national cemetery initiative and to advocate for providing
such a designation to the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery in a timely manner.
2/14/2012 After much urging from Tester, the budget for the next fiscal year (2013) includes a provision to allow the VA National Cemetery Administration to purchase land from rural cemeteries in eight states, including Montana
1/23/2012 Tester meets with Secretary Shinseki to push again for national designation of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
1/4/2012 Tester writes to VA Secretary Shinseki to encourage him to designate the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery as a national VA cemetery
7/21/2011 Tester pushes Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to establish a national veterans cemetery at the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
7/20/2011 Tester includes language in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act calling on the VA to allow rural cemeteries like the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery to become VA National Cemeteries
7/8/2011 Tester connects VA Secretary Shinseki with Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy to talk about the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
7/8/2011 Tester brings VA Secretary Shinseki to Montana to hear from local veterans; during their trip to Billings, Secretary Shinseki heard from local veterans and advocates about the importance of national designation for the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
3/1/2011 Tester meets with VA Secretary Shinseki to continue to push for national recognition of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
7/21/2010 Tester writes to VA Secretary Shinseki to request that the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery be added to the list of national VA cemeteries
1/28/2010 Tester meets with VA Secretary Shinseki to continue to push for national recognition of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
11/17/2009 Tester includes language in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act requiring the National Cemetery Administration to study the possibility of creating a national cemetery in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho or eastern Washington.
12/10/2008 Tester meets with the nominee to be the new Secretary of the VA, General Eric Shinseki, and pushes for national designation of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
11/11/2008 Tester attends the dedication of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
5/26/2008 Tester attends Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery Groundbreaking ceremony
2/20/2008 Tester brings VA Secretary Peake to Montana to hear from local veterans; during their trip to Billings, Secretary Peake hears from local veterans and advocates about the importance of national designation for the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
1/22/2008 Tester meets with VA Secretary Peake to continue to push for national recognition of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery
11/6/2007 Tester meets with the nominee to be new Secretary of the VA, Lt. General James Peake. During the meeting, Tester pushes for national designation of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery


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