NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) –The national cemetery administration awarded a grant of $1.86 million to the North Dakota veteran cemetery.

KX News had the opportunity to attend the ribbon cutting and hear what local veterans think of the $2.1 million dollar addition.

“The columbarium is an option for families to choose an above ground burial for cremations, and it’s something we’ve never had offered before out here. We are so happy to be able to offer this to our veterans and their families,” said cemetery director, Pamela Helbing-Schafer.
The facility compliments and preserves the serenity of the North Dakota Veterans cemetery, providing 20 years of interment space. Additionally, it will enhance options available to families, featuring 6 double sided walls, a gathering space, benches and additional parking.
Alvin Skager, a local veteran, says moments like this show us why being a veteran in North Dakota is the greatest honor.

“I love North Dakota, clear to the bottom of my toes. Living in Mandan with my sister and my brother-in-law was impactful. And because he was military, both Korea and Vietnam, he’s here. A whole bunch of other people that I know, my cousins too. This new addition is going to be great for all the people, “said Skager.
North Dakotans share that this was a day like no other.
“I love what this country represents, what it’s supposed to be, and how I carry my weight in it when serving. And, of course, taking that oath is a never-ending oath. So, it’s worth everything I’ve ever done with it,” said Skager.

“The most uniting issues probably amongst everything in our federal government are our veterans,” said Senator Kevin Cramer.
North Dakota Veterans Cemetery currently serves more than 10,000 Veterans and their family members living within 75 miles of the cemetery.
This grant and expansion will help so many more men and women get the chance to call this hallowed ground their final resting ground.