COLORADO SPRINGS – The first four veterans were laid to rest at the nation’s newest national cemetery this week just southeast of Colorado Springs. The Pikes Peak National Cemetery will eventually be the final resting place for 200,000 veterans.
In a single event, the families of four men were in attendance for the first ceremony at the newly established site.
- James Grant, U.S. Army – Vietnam veteran
- Kurt Krause, U.S. Marine Corps – Vietnam veteran
- Joseph Romero, U.S. Navy – Vietnam veteran
- Charles Ray Joyner, U.S. Air Force
According to cemetery director Paul LaGrange there are 300 veterans being considered for burial at the site. The loved ones of another 100 have requested remains be moved to the Colorado Springs cemetery from Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
The National Cemetery Scheduling Office started accepting burial applications for eligible deceased veterans and their spouses for the Pikes Peak National Cemetery in Colorado Springs in September.
The first phase of construction consists of 65 acres and will offer 13,300 gravesites, for both casketed and cremated remains.
“In partnership with the VA’s National Cemetery Scheduling Office, we’re excited to start accepting burial applications and move on to the next chapter of Pikes Peak National Cemetery,” said Paul LaGrange, Director of Pikes Peak National Cemetery.
Burial in the VA national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who’ve met their active duty service requirements and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Veteran spouses, widow or widower, minor children, and unmarried adult children with disabilities under specific conditions may also be eligible for burial, according to a release.
Next of kin or a funeral home acting on the eligible family’s behalf can request burial at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery by contracting the St. Louis office. Those applying are asked to send a copy of the military discharge document/DD214 to the NCSO by at 1-866-900-6417 or by email at NCA.firstname.lastname@example.org.
People are then asked to call the toll free number 1-800-535-1117 to complete the process. National Cemetery staff in Colorado Springs cannot accept burial applications in-person or by phone, according to a release.
The Pikes Peak National Cemetary staff will then use data from applications to determine the first candidates for burial. Some of the criteria used to make the decision will include deceased veterans that have been waiting the longest for a burial and have not received any military funeral honors.
For more information on burial eligibility or any additional questions, please call (719) 216-1025.