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Noem, Veterans Affairs Announce State Veterans Cemetery Groundbreaking

For Immediate Release

August 28, 2019

Noem Contact: Kristin Wileman

 SDDVA Contact: Audry Ricketts


Noem, Veterans Affairs Announce State Veterans Cemetery Groundbreaking


PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem and the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (SDDVA) today announced that the state will break ground on the first-ever South Dakota State Veterans Cemetery on September 9, 2019. 


“This project isn’t just about building another cemetery. This project is a tribute to patriots,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “This cemetery will immortalize the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms. It’s a real way we can show gratitude to those who have served and show the next generation that sacrifice doesn’t go unnoticed.”


South Dakota is home to more than 72,000 veterans. Of these, approximately 50,000 reside in the eastern part of the state, The nearest national cemetery available to South Dakotans on the east side of the state is in Sturgis or Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, which is over 220 miles beyond the state line.


“The construction of our state veterans cemetery will help ensure veterans from each side of South Dakota receive the recognition they deserve for their service,” said Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden. “It permits them to rest with honor near their homes and families.”


In 2018, the South Dakota State Legislature passed Senate Bill 91, which authorized the SDDVA to seek U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs construction funding from the National Cemetery Administration.


The funding received at this time will construct a main entrance, an avenue of flags, an administration building, a maintenance facility, roads, an assembly area, a committal shelter, preplaced crypts, cremains burial areas, columbaria, scatter burial area, a memorial wall and walkway, landscaping, and supporting infrastructure. The project will develop approximately 12.9 acres. The construction will include 610 pre-placed crypts, 999 cremains gravesites, 660 columbarium niches, and 50 memorial wall markers in a beautifully landscaped setting in accordance with existing standards set by the VA for its national cemeteries.


“I’m pleased that we’ve secured this funding for the new State Veterans Cemetery,” said Greg Whitlock, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs. “This will be incredibly helpful as we work with veterans groups to raise the rest of the funding for cemetery construction.”


“This project would not have been possible if it weren’t for the hundreds of veterans and groups who poured their time into raising funds and support for the cemetery. Thank you to all who continue working to create this special recognition for our veterans,” Noem concluded.


The cemetery will be built on property north of the I-229/I-90 Interchange off Slip Up Creek Road and 477th Ave. The groundbreaking ceremony will start at 9 a.m. CT on September 9.