Arlington National Cemetery is running out of space to bury our nation’s veterans. It’s a problem veteran cemeteries across the country are facing.
Here at KX News we’re proud of our veterans, and the sacrifice they’ve made for our country. In North Dakota, there’s only one veterans cemetery.
This Memorial Day, hundreds will gather at the Veterans Cemetery to pay their respects. Eric Jensen is a North Dakota National Guardsman. He says honoring veterans and the legacy they leave behind matters.
Eric Jensen; NDNG Public Affairs Specialist: “Well we’re talking about men and women that have given their lives for their country. Some, especially some here at the North Dakota Veteran Cemetery have given that ultimate sacrifice to their country. I think it’s important that we treat their burials with reverence.”
While veterans cemeteries across our country are running out of space, here in North Dakota, there won’t be any veterans turned away any time soon.
Pamela Helbling-Schafer; Director of the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery: “We want to make sure we’re here for many years to come to support our veterans and their families.”
Capacity isn’t a problem here and North Dakota’s Veterans Cemetery. Just about 3 years ago, they purchased an additional 35 acres of land, doubling the capacity.
Pamela Helbling-Schafer; Director of the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery: “With the existing 35 acres of land that we do have available, we do have enough space for another 25 years, approximately. The newly purchased land will take us out at least 175 years, if not, greater than that.”
For Jensen, being able to come here and honor those who served is personal.
Eric Jensen; NDNG Public Affairs Specialist: “For me, my grandfather is actually buried out here. Served in the Korean War, he passed away while I was overseas on a deployment of my own. I was fortunate enough to come home and see his funeral.”
There are about 8,200 people buried at the North Dakota Veteran Cemetery. For those who come to visit, family and country have deep meaning.
Eric Jensen; NDNG Public Affairs Specialist: “Wonderful for my family to pay their last respects to him in such a solemn place.”
The first burial was July 7th, 1992, at the Veterans Cemetery. As for Arlington National Cemetery they expect to be at full capacity in 23 years, unless the requirements to be buried there are changed.
The veterans cemetery director wanted us to remind you of their Memorial Day Program on Monday. It starts at noon, and is open to the public.