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Veterans cemeteries an option for many families

Greg Remus

Did you know Minnesota has a State Veterans Cemetery and a VA National Veterans Cemetery?

I have often been asked, "Can I be buried at one of these cemeteries?" The short answer is more often than not, yes, burial is open to all veterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty for training. Their spouses, minor children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children are also eligible for burial. Eligible spouses may be buried, even if they predecease the veteran.

The rest of the answer is with certain exceptions, if you enlisted after September 7, 1980 or you were commissioned an officer after October 16, 1981 you must have served for a minimum of 24 consecutive months or the full period of active duty. Also eligible for burial are members of the reserve components, the Army and National Guard, and the Reserve Officer Training Corps who die while on active duty for training or performing service, or who have 20 years of service in reserve components of the Armed Forces creditable for retired pay.

Minnesota Veterans Cemetery

The Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery is located next to Camp Ripley just north of Little Falls. The cemetery was established in June 1994. Currently the cemetery can conduct four services a day on a first-come first-served basis.

What is the cost?

n There is no cost to the veteran.

Spouse/Eligible Dependent:

n $300 in-ground burial of cremated remains

n $400 above-ground placement of cremated remains in columbarium niche

n $750 casket burial

n $250 casket burial if the veteran was buried in the cemetery prior to Nov. 1, 2003

(Headstone and perpetual care is provided at no cost)

Are military honors provided? Yes. The cemetery office can arrange Military Honors, to include rifle volley, taps, flag folding and presentation. Clergy services and other arrangements are the responsibility of the family or family representative. These arrangements are normally coordinated through your chosen funeral director.

Fort Snelling National Cemetery

Fort Snelling National Cemetery is located in Minneapolis near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The Fort Snelling cemetery was established in 1870 for the soldiers who died while stationed at the post. Fort Snelling National Cemetery was established in 1939 with the first burial on July 5, of Capt. George H. Mallon, whose acts of heroism at Meuse-Argonne in France were recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor.

What is the cost? Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible Veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine.

Are military honors provided? Fort Snelling National Cemetery is the home of the first all-volunteer Memorial Rifle Squad in the National Cemetery Administration. They can provide honors daily for as many as 17 veterans between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. As of July 2, 2010, they had rendered the final salute for 56,111 veterans.

I have worked closely with the staff of the Cease Funeral Home and Jones-Pearson Funeral Home and in both cases they are very knowledgeable of the eligibility requirements and are very capable in completing the process of coordination with the cemeteries.

And by the way, I am now conducting outreach at the Lakeport Town Hall in Laporte from 9 a.m. to noon and move to the Lake George Town Hall from 1-3 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Please feel free to visit me at those locations.

The purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, and to provide benefit counseling, claims service, referral and assistance in a variety of other programs. You can contact me at the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office at 201 Fair Ave, Park Rapids, 732-3561. Have a great day!

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