SERVING OUR VETERANS: North Dakota Veterans Cemetery
There are now approximately 45,000 veterans in North Dakota. This makes up 8 percent of our population. During WWII, 11 percent of our population was in the military. Today, WWII veterans make up only 0.6 percent of our population. As veterans pass away, we as North Dakota residents are fortunate to have a veterans cemetery as an option for a veteran’s burial location. As you are probably aware, this is the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery located at a beautiful location south of Mandan.
The North Dakota Veterans Cemetery opened in 1992. The first burials began in July of that year. By the end of 1992, the total burial count was 67. They are now averaging about 505 burials per year and can bury up to seven a day. To date, more than 8,100 veterans lie at rest in this cemetery. As of February 2018, 37 are from Pierce County.
All eligible veterans can be buried at this cemetery. All interments require verification of eligibility of the veteran, national guardsman, reservist, and spouse or qualifying dependent prior to the burial date. Verification of eligibility is based off the veterans discharge (DD-214 or equivalent). This document must verify the service member received an “Honorable,” “Under Honorable Conditions” or a “General” discharge. There is no plot or headstone charge for the qualifying veteran. However, there is a burial fee for all non-military (spouse or dependent’s) interments. The charge is $550 as of October 1, 2011.
Besides the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, veterans will soon have a second burial location in North Dakota. A location south of Fargo was chosen as a new “National Cemetery” (like Arlington or Fort Snelling) for our area. This new location encompasses 4.62 acres. Construction is scheduled to begin this spring with completion by September 2019. A contest is still underway to choose the name for this new National Cemetery.
It is reassuring and comforting to know our state demonstrates a sincere concern seeing our veterans receive the honor and benefits they have earned, whether in life or death.
Montonye’s office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays at the Pierce County Courthouse, or by appointment.