The Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery remains on track to become a National Veterans Burial Ground, Senator Jon Tester announced today.
Tester, Montana's only member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, announced that eight acres of the cemetery north of Laurel will receive national designation. National designation means the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will fund and maintain a portion of the cemetery.
In a letter to Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy, the VA also said it will upgrade cemetery facilities by building a new crypt and columbarium. Department officials plan to visit the site soon to conduct necessary studies.
"Montana's veterans deserve a resting place close to their families that allows all of America to celebrate their service," Tester said. "I'm glad the VA is moving forward with its plans to recognize Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery as a national cemetery, and I will continue fighting to make sure all Montana veterans receive the recognition and support they earned."
Tester has made national designation of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery a major cause. He has worked with VA Secretaries of both political parties and with veterans in Yellowstone County in order to get the VA to take up the issue. 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.
"Montana veterans deserve a national cemetery of their own and Jon's efforts on their behalf keep paying off," 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."
The Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery, which serves 16,000 veterans, is located along Buffalo Trail Road north of Laurel.