This month, the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration awarded its billionth dollar to states, U.S. territories, and tribes for the establishment, expansion, improvement, and maintenance of state, territorial, and tribal veterans cemeteries. The milestone was reached with a grant of $1,860,775 to the state of North Dakota for the expansion of the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan.
These grants are awarded through the Veterans Cemetery Grant Program. Since beginning in 1978, the program has provided 475 grants to 122 state, territorial, and tribal veterans cemeteries — leading to more than more than 800,000 total interments for veterans. In fiscal year 2022, these cemeteries and VA national cemeteries conducted nearly 200,000 interments combined.
Veterans interred in state, territorial, or tribal veterans cemeteries receive the same burial and memorial benefits provided to veterans in VA national cemeteries, at no cost. This includes a gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate.
“Veterans deserve lasting resting places that honor their service to our nation – whether that’s in a VA national cemetery, a private cemetery or one of the state, territorial or tribal cemeteries that VA supports,” said Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn. “I truly believe there is no better example of partnership between the federal government and the state, territories and tribes than the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program. We are proud to work together to honor our nation’s heroes.”
Between grant-funded cemeteries and VA’s national cemeteries, the department is now providing 94% of veterans who live in the U.S. with the option of burial in a VA or VA-funded cemetery within 75 miles of their homes.
Veterans interred in most VA-grant funded cemeteries are also memorialized on the Veterans Legacy Memorial site. This allows family, friends and others to preserve their veteran's legacy by posting tributes, uploading images, and sharing their veteran's achievements, biographical information and historical documents.
In 2022, the National Cemetery Administration once again led all organizations, public or private, in the American Customer Satisfaction Index — receiving a score of 97 based on index’s surveys of veterans and their families. This is the highest score ever achieved by any organization rated by the index and is the seventh consecutive time the administration has ranked first overall in customer satisfaction.