National Cemetery Administration
VA Names New National Cemetery in Nebraska
September 5, 2014
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) selected the name Omaha National Cemetery for the national cemetery that VA will construct in the Omaha region.
“The Veterans of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa deserve a final resting place worthy of their service to our nation,” said Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
VA purchased the Sarpy County land located along South 144th St. (Highway 50), at 14250 Schram Road for $6 million in December 2012. The cemetery will serve more than 112,000 Veterans in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa not currently served with an open national, state or tribal Veterans cemetery within 75 miles of their residence.
VA awarded Vireo Planning & Design of Omaha, a small business, the $1 million architect and engineering contract for the cemetery in Aug. 2013. In fall 2014, VA plans to award a design/build construction contract to complete the remaining cemetery design work and construct the cemetery. VA anticipates that the initial phase of the design/build project will take 2 to 2 1/2 years to complete and develop approximately 35 acres of land for approximately 5,500 interment sites, including casket interments, columbarium niches, in-ground sites for cremated remains and an ossuary. The project will also incorporate memorial walls to commemorate those whose remains are not available for interment.
In addition to the gravesite development, construction will include access roads, an entrance area, a flag/assembly area, committal shelters; an administration building/public information center with electronic gravesite locator, public restrooms, a memorial walkway, a maintenance complex and more.
National cemeteries are named based on the geographic area in which the cemetery is located. VA relies on local Veterans and community leaders to submit name suggestions. Of the names submitted, “Omaha National Cemetery” best met VA’s naming criteria and is consistent with the requirements specified in title 38 United States Code § 531, requiring VA property, including national cemeteries, to be named for the geographic area in which the facility is located.
The closest national cemetery is Leavenworth National Cemetery located in Leavenworth, Kan., approximately 180 miles to the southeast. Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell is the only other VA cemetery in Nebraska.
VA dedicated the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery at Alliance, located in the western part of the state, in August 2010. The cemetery is run by the state and is comprised of approximately 20 acres. The Nebraska Veterans Home Cemetery in Grand Island, also administered by the state, is comprised of four acres and serves the residents of the Nebraska Veterans Home.
Veterans with a qualifying discharge, their spouses and eligible dependent children may be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents.
Other burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a Government headstone or marker.
In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 40 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s national cemeteries.
Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the Internet at www.cem.va.gov, or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000.
To make burial arrangements at any VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.