Fairbanks Legislators Seek Veteran Input on Location for Interior Veterans’ Cemetery
Tuesday, June 01, 2010, Fairbanks, Alaska - Senator Joe Thomas, D-Fairbanks, and Representative David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks, are seeking input from local veterans on the location for the proposed Interior Alaska State Veterans' Cemetery in Fairbanks. In the coming weeks they plan to hold a town hall meeting with legislators and local veterans to discuss possible locations.
Several sites are under consideration, and the two legislators want to fully engage local veterans in the discussion before a final site is chosen.
"It is important that we do this, and it is important we do this right," said Senator Thomas. "Finding an appropriate location for this consecrated site is the first step. We must ensure that our veterans and their families know that their service to our nation will be honored and remembered "
The FY '11 state capital budget includes funding to cover the initial architectural and engineering costs for constructing the cemetery which will be fully reimbursed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Under the VA's state veterans' cemetery program, states are solely responsible for acquisition of land for the cemetery.
"It has been a long time coming," stated Representative Guttenberg. "We've been working very hard over the years to make this a reality and I am pleased we have finally reached the point where we are working on selecting the actual site. Veterans in the Interior deserve no less than this honorable place to finally rest."
"This is more than just a cemetery," said Thomas. "Along with providing Interior Alaska's veterans with a dignified final resting place, the cemetery will also offer a range of administrative services to assist families of deceased veterans as they make final arrangements for their loved ones."
Alaska has more veterans per capita than any other state and already has veterans' cemeteries in Sitka (Sitka National Cemetery) and Anchorage (Fort Richardson National Cemetery). With over 11,000 veterans in Interior Alaska, mostly within the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the proposed Interior Alaska Veterans' Cemetery will provide a much-needed final resting place for the thousands of veterans in our community.