WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Luján announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a $6.69 million to fund the construction of a veterans cemetery in Gallup, New Mexico.
Currently, the nearest national cemetery to Gallup is in Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, about 199 miles away. The lawmakers in a news release that the new cemetery will provide more convenient access and service to 19,000 veterans and their families.
“Veterans in Gallup, Navajo, Zuni and the surrounding area have waited for a long time for this new veterans cemetery,” said Udall. “This new cemetery will honor our state’s veterans and help ensure their families won’t have to drive hours to pay respects to their loved ones.”
“New Mexico has a long and proud tradition of service in our Armed Forces, and we owe our veterans and their families a great debt,” said Luján.
New Mexico applied for the grant earlier this month. According to the news release, it will cover 100 percent of allowable costs to establish the veterans cemetery.
The grant will fund the construction of a main entrance, administration building, maintenance facility, committal shelter, 443 preplaced crypts, 140 in-ground cremain gravesites, 400 columbarium niches, a memorial wall and walkway, roadways and supporting infrastructure, the news release said.