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Rounds: South Dakota Veterans Cemetery One Step Closer to Becoming Reality

WASHINGTON–U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has signed off on the South Dakota state cemetery grant application. During a phone call with VA Undersecretary Randy Reeves last week, Reeves told Rounds that this puts the South Dakota state cemetery application on the priority list for grant funding. A grant could be awarded as early as next year.

“The announcement that the VA has signed off on a South Dakota state cemetery grant application is great news for our veterans and their families,” said Rounds. “As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, this project has been a priority of mine, and I am happy to see it move forward. Once completed, this cemetery will not only serve as a final resting place for those who fought for our country, but it will be a place for all Americans to honor those who served. I thank the South Dakota Veterans Council, the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs and our local VSO chapters for their hard work on this important project.”

South Dakota Veterans Cemetery: Background:

  • Efforts have been ongoing for years to construct a veterans cemetery in the Eastern part of South Dakota.
    • The estimated total cost is $6 million, with the federal government paying for most of the cost.
    • The state would pay approximately $600,000.
  • There are more than 40,000 veterans in Eastern South Dakota, with the only open national cemetery for veterans being in Sturgis.
  • Though military veterans can be buried anywhere they want, to get full benefits from the government their grave must be in a state or national cemetery.
  • This year, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed legislation to allow the state to apply to the National Cemetery Administration to construct a state veterans cemetery on land donated by the city of Sioux Falls.
    • It would also set up an endowment fund to help pay the upfront costs of construction and maintain the cemetery.