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WASHINGTON, DC-The US Department of Veterans Affairs has released a study concluding that Sarasota County, FL, Birmingham, AL and Columbia, SC are among the areas that are most in need of new cemeteries to accommodate veterans. The designated areas are all facing a space crunch due to the ratio of veterans to available burial sites in the years leading up to 2020.

The VA’s National Cemetery Administration was directed by Congress via The Millennium Act to contract the study. The report on that research, entitled Future Burial Needs, has been submitted to Congress.

“We must ensure that VA continues to meet its obligation to provide America’s veterans with a dignified and respectful final resting place, secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi says. “Now and in the future, this study will serve as a valuable planning tool for decisions on where and when to build new cemeteries.”

Over the last 30 years, the NCA has developed 17 new national cemeteries, increasing the nation’s burial capacity by 10,000 acres. Specific site selection for the new burial grounds will be the next step for the VA.

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