CRYSTAL FALLS— The Iron County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has initiated an effort to find between 40 and 160 donated acres for the purpose of the Upper Peninsula Michigan Veterans National Memorial Cemetery.
Once established, the U.P. Veterans Memorial Cemetery would provide a burial site for any honorably discharged veterans and family members.
At present, there are several veterans national memorial cemeteries in the Midwest, but all are at least 400 miles away.
The closest memorial cemetery for veterans is in Milwaukee, but it is full.
The next closest is Fort Snelling in South Minneapolis, Minn.
There are two veterans’ cemeteries in the Lower Peninsula, and both are at least 500 miles away.
With 55,000 veterans in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, the belief is that there is interest in establishing a cemetery in the UP.
Upper Peninsula veterans went on record last year supporting a national memorial cemetery, and the search is on for sufficient land that could serve as a site.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration in Washington, there are two requirements before they would consider any support.
First, the land of between 40 and 160 acres must be obtained; second, Gov. Rick Snyder must approve.
Once established, any honorably discharged veteran, his/her spouse and any children younger than 18 would be eligible for burial.
Once the casket or urn is brought to the gate of the cemetery, all the expenses for the lot and burial are covered by the administration.
The Iron County EDC is supporting the project and is extending a search for 40 to 160 acres in Iron County that could be donated for the Upper Peninsula Michigan Veterans National Memorial Cemetery.
Anyone with information about land or who might offer assistance can contact the Iron County EDC at 875-6868.