BY TAMMY WALTERS
Oneida County CVSO
John Knapp, Deputy Director at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, was in Merrill, Eagle River and Rhinelander recently to provide an update on the national cemetery that will be built in the township of Cassian. It even has an actual address, 4520 Lakewood Road, Harshaw. It’s a six-acre, $3.4 million project, and the contractor will hopefully be breaking ground late spring or early summer. At this time, the design is 35 percent complete. Once it’s 100 percent complete and signed off by the VA secretary, the project will begin. Because there are a number of variables, no date of completion has been given.
Eligibility for burial in a national cemetery includes:
• All members of the Armed Forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
• A veteran’s spouse, widow/widower, minor dependent children and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities.
• Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the veteran.
• Members of the National Guard or Reserves who die while on active duty or active duty for training or who were eligible for retired pay may also be eligible for burial.
Members of the National Guard or Reserves who only have active duty for training and were never federally activated, are not eligible.
Unlike a state veterans cemetery, you cannot pre-register and reserve a burial plot. The only thing you can do is file for pre-need determination, which tells you whether or not you, your spouse and your dependent child or children are eligible to be buried in a national cemetery. This does not guarantee you will be buried in the cemetery you choose, though. If you are considering being buried in a national cemetery, it’s strongly recommended you request pre-need determination by filling out a VA form 40-10007. This will ensure that at the time of your passing, you’re already in the national cemetery database and your family won’t have to worry about that detail at a time they’re already overwhelmed. The form can be mailed or faxed to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office in St. Louis, Mo., but we’ve found getting a fax through is normally difficult. Feel free to stop by our office to fill out the form and we will mail it in for you. Supporting documentation such as discharge papers and a marriage and/or birth certificate are required.
Burial in a national cemetery includes the opening and closing of the grave, a grave liner, perpetual care of the grave site, a grave marker, a burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, all at no cost to the family. The grave markers will all be upright markers either made of white marble or gray granite.
The cemetery is expected to have the capacity to hold more than 10 years of in-ground casket burials, in-ground cremation burials and columbaria placements. There will also be a memorial wall for those whose ashes were spread elsewhere.
Note: Jason and I will be at our spring conference from May 14-18. We will have a Limited Term Employee (LTE) in our office that week but services and hours will be limited.
Tammy Walters can be reached at (715) 369-6127 or email@example.com. Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at the same number or firstname.lastname@example.org.