The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today dedicated a new national cemetery just west of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie unveiled the dedication plaque for Cheyenne National Cemetery, the first national cemetery in the state.
“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,” Wilkie said.
“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,” he said.
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.
At full capacity the cemetery will be able to accommodate just over 7,000 interments.
Until now, the closest burial option was 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.
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.
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. This number includes over 15,000 Wyoming Veterans who will now be served with a VA burial option for the first time.