Bennet, Udall: Momentum Must Continue in Fight to Create National Veterans Cemetery in Southern Colorado

On Heels of House Approval of Southern Colorado Veterans Cemetery Bill, Bennet, Udall Urge Senate, Administration to Follow Suit

U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today applauded the House of Representatives for taking action to create a new national veterans cemetery in southern Colorado, and renewed their push to ensure veterans in the region have a final resting place to call their own.

Earlier this year, Bennet and Udall introduced companion legislation to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create a national veterans cemetery in southern Colorado. That bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, where it awaits approval by the full Committee.

The Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on the bill and several other pending bills in April. Bennet and Udall today said they will continue to push for the bill's passage in the Senate.

"For years, veterans and military families in Southern Colorado have been fighting for a national veterans cemetery to call their own," said Bennet. "It's time to ensure a grateful nation keeps its promise to our troops from the day they enlist to the day they're laid to rest. The House, led by Congressman Salazar, did the right thing today, and it's time for the Senate to follow suit."
"Veterans in southern Colorado need and deserve a cemetery close to home," Senator Udall said. "I want to congratulate my colleagues in the House for approving this bill - now I'm doing everything in my power to make sure the Senate does the same. It's long past time this cemetery was built so we can honor and give the appropriate thanks to veterans from southern Colorado who gave so much for our freedom."

With Fort Logan National Veterans Cemetery estimated to reach full capacity in a matter of years, and with veterans and military families in Central and Southern Colorado forced to travel long distances to visit friends and loved ones, a new national veterans cemetery in the region would help ease demand for space at existing facilities while significantly reducing the cost and distance of travel for families of fallen soldiers.

The new cemetery would also enable veterans who reside in Southern Colorado to be buried near the communities they call home. The Pikes Peak area has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country, and both of the existing cemeteries-between 70 and 80 miles away-are inconveniently located for families traveling from the Pikes Peak region to visit their loved ones. Additionally, treacherous weather conditions and poor highway access often inhibit such travel.

The bill passed earlier today by the House of Representatives is cosponsored by Reps. DeGette (CO-01), Lamborn (CO-05), Perlmutter (CO-07), and Polis (CO-02).