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Fort Sill National Cemetery Construction Complete

July 22, 2004

The first-phase development of the 391-acre Fort Sill, Oklahoma, National Cemetery has been completed, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced last week.

With the Phase I development completed, the cemetery now has 10,270 full casket gravesites, 1,000 columbaria niches and 1,000 in-ground sites for cremated remains. Burials began in November 2001 and more than 500 have been conducted.

Located 15 miles from Lawton and 75 miles from Oklahoma City, this cemetery in southwestern Oklahoma serves approximately 165,000 veterans.

Other major construction completed includes an administration and maintenance complex, two committal service shelters, a public information center with an electronic gravesite locator, public restrooms and a flag assembly area. Additional phases in this cemetery will be developed as needed in the future.

Veterans with a discharge other than dishonorable, their spouses and dependent children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Other burial benefits for eligible veterans include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a headstone or marker -- even if they are not buried in a national or state veterans cemetery.

In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 120 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico, plus 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than three million veterans of every war and conflict -- from the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom -- are buried in VA's national cemeteries.

These national cemeteries comprise more than 14,200 acres of land. VA also provides grants to states to build new or expand existing state veterans cemeteries.

Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, on the Internet at http://www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1-800-827-1000. Information on the Fort Sill National Cemetery is available by calling the cemetery at (580) 492-3208.

Source: Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration

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