LINCOLN — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has acquired land in Sarpy County for a long-sought national veterans cemetery.
The 236-acre site is on the northeast corner of South 144th Street (Nebraska Highway 50) and Schram Road.
Retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson called the announcement a “proud day for Nebraska veterans.”
“In the past, many deserving Nebraska veterans have chosen to forgo the honor and recognition of burial in a national cemetery to remain in close proximity with loved ones,” the Democrat said. “I'm proud that our increasing numbers of aged veterans no longer have to make that difficult choice.”
Nebraska's congressional representatives have fought for an eastern Nebraska cemetery for several years. Nelson and his GOP counterpart, U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, sponsored 2009 legislation to authorize and direct the placement of the cemetery.
On Thursday, Johanns said the cemetery will provide Nebraskans and other Americans “a place to honor those who have protected our country.”
He said the VA plans to award a design contract for the cemetery next year.
The cemetery should be ready in 2015, according to Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.
Terry said he was pleased the department had finalized its purchase.
“Our veterans and their families deserve a final honorable resting place close to home, and I look forward to watching the cemetery become a reality,” he said.
The cemetery will serve veterans in eastern Nebraska, western Iowa and northwest Missouri. The only current national veterans cemetery in Nebraska is Fort McPherson in Maxwell.
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