Military Matters: Veterans cemetery to expand
Veteran Robert Tingle comes from a military family. Tuesday, he visited Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Newton in hopes that his deceased brother will be able to be buried there.
"It’s a beautiful place to be,” said Tingle.
Luckily for Tingle, veterans can be buried at the cemetery at no cost. It has been that way since 2011.
"This is a way of saying thanks to all the veterans, You just look around and just think, somebody you know that did serve before me paved the way,” said Tingle.
VA Memorial Affairs Director Marcus Lawson said veterans from near and far are buried in Newton.
"We actually have some veterans here that have been laid to rest from Chicago, Illinois, from Washington State,” said Lawson. “To have a place that they can always be memorialized is a great honor for us and my staff to take care of them in their final resting spot."
A section of Newton’s VA burial ground holds nearly 1,000 veterans and it's almost full. That's one reason the National Cemetery Administration is granting millions of dollars to expand and make room for thousands more.
"We have to remember that they paid the ultimate sacrifice, so we went back to the National Cemetery Administration and asked for a grant and they granted us that $4,000,000," said Lawson.
The burial cost is paid by the NCA. It's a process that Lawson said was earned by our military men and women.
Veterans and one dependent may be buried at the cemetery free of charge.
To be buried in the cemetery, veterans must meet certain guidelines including meeting a specific service requirement and having been discharged under honorable conditions.
For more information about the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Newton call 601-683-2959.