Rise in Vet Burials Brings Demand for More Cemeteries

Monday, 23 Dec 2013 07:52 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Burials of veterans and their dependents has reached a record level, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is adding burial space at a record rate to keep up with demand.

Rep. Dina Titus is pushing for more national cemeteries, which she argues is especially needed in Western states where senior veteran populations are growing, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

"The prestige of being buried in a national cemetery is something every veteran is entitled to," the Nevada Democrat said.

Nevada is one of about 12 states that does not have a federally funded national cemetery, and Titus thinks that states without them should be a priority.

There are state-run cemeteries, which the VA says are maintained and treated in the same manner as the national cemeteries.

However, family members of veterans who live in the Las Vegas area, for example, have to travel more than hour to get to the nearest state-run cemetery.

Steve Muro, head of the National Cemetery Administration, told the Journal that new cemeteries will be added based on population density.

"We're trying our best to improve burial options throughout the U.S.," Muro said.

In 2013, burials increased to 125,000 for veterans and their dependents compared to 37,000 in 1978, largely because of  the aging of World War II veterans.

It was originally projected that interments at national cemeteries would peak in 2010, but now the projection is 2017, when about 135,000 burials are expected.

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