- Associated Press - Monday, May 26, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will soon begin searching for a place in southwest Utah to construct a cemetery for rural Utah veterans.

Glenn Madderom, chief of cemetery development for the National Cemetery Administration, says officials will be looking this summer for three to six acres near an existing cemetery.

“We would be looking in that corridor between St. George and Cedar City, but focusing more on Cedar City,” Madderom said.

There’s no timeline to build the cemetery at this point, Madderom said, but any opening is several years down the road.

The project is party of a VA initiative to offer burial grounds for veterans in rural areas of the country.



Similar cemeteries are planned for Yellowstone County, Montana, and Twin Falls, Idaho.

Utah is one of 11 states without a national veterans’ ceremony but the state maintains burial grounds for veterans in Bluffdale, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1tdYLcb).

Arnold Warner, a supervisor at the Utah state veterans’ cemetery, said that as of last Wednesday, about 4,970 veterans and their spouses were interred at the site.

Each week, typically anywhere from five to 12 people will be buried at the Bluffdale site or have their ashes scattered there.

For many, the choice is about the cost.

A headstone and burial at the cemetery are free for veterans and cost $700 for a spouse, while private services can cost thousands of dollars.

Warner said a burial ground in Cedar City, about 230 miles away, would save rural families from driving long distances to bury their relatives.

The Bluffdale cemetery receives one or two veterans every month from cities such as St. George in the southwest corner of the state.

If a new facility was built near Cedar City, it would likely receive veterans from nearby cities such as St. George and Las Vegas, Warner said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com

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