Cheyenne – Wyoming Congresswoman and House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon at the dedication ceremony for the new Cheyenne National Cemetery, the first national veterans cemetery in the state.
Watch Rep. Cheney’s remarks from the ceremony here, and see the transcript below:
REP. LIZ CHENEY: It’s really a tremendous honor to be able to be here today with Secretary Wilke and Under Secretary Reeves, Governor Mark Gordon, and all of you, and a special honor and privilege to be here to help dedicate this sacred ground. There is really nothing that I do as Wyoming’s Representative that is more important to me and more important to our state and our country than the work that we do on behalf of our veterans and on behalf of those who are currently serving in our Armed Forces. Across the country, certainly in Washington, we all know and recognize that the freedoms that we enjoy, the freedoms that we are able to exercise every single day, we only are able to do that because of brave men and women like you who have stepped forward, who have answered the call, and who put on the uniform of this nation. There are many veteran cemeteries across this country, including cemeteries on battlefields, particularly Civil War battlefields, and there’s one in particular at Antietam. At the cemetery at Antietam, there’s a statue of a Union soldier who stands at rest and he looks out over the graves of his colleagues, his brothers who fell in that battle. And the inscription on that statue says, “Not for themselves, but for their country.”
I think that is something that we all need to pause every day, and particularly on a day like today when we’re here to commemorate, to dedicate this cemetery, that it is because of the selfless service of all of you that we live in freedom. It’s a call that generations since the beginning of our Republic have answered, the call that future generations will have to answer. I know that I, and all of Wyoming’s elected leaders, certainly, Secretary Wilkie, Under Secretary Reeves, all of us who are here, our Cheyenne mayor as well, all of us know that our task and our responsibility in representing all of you is to make sure that we conduct ourselves in a way that is worthy of the sacrifices that so many have made and continue to make. So, I am very honored to be here, pleased to be able to be here on such an important day and such an important moment, and proud of all that we are able to do everyday to help to support and remember our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you very much for your service, thanks for what you do for all of us, and it is my honor now, I believe, to turn things back over to Sam for Governor Gordon’s remarks. Thank you very much.
Construction of the first phase of the cemetery provides space for more than 1,600 interments including caskets, in-ground burial of cremains, columbaria space for cremains and a memorial wall. At full capacity the cemetery will be able to accommodate just over 7,000 interments.
“Together, all of you, and so many others, have enabled this ground to serve as a national shrine dedicated to the memories of the men and women to whom we all owe a great debt,” said Secretary Wilkie. “Wyoming has been blessed with an abundance of such men and women — whose collective courage and commitment allow us to flourish as a nation and as a people united.”
Until now, the closest burial option was Fort Logan National Cemetery located 114 miles away in Denver, Colorado. The only in-state Veterans cemetery is Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery, run by the State of Wyoming, located 176 miles away in Evansville. The 5.02-acre cemetery is expected to serve a population of more than 55,000 Veterans, their spouses and eligible children within a 75-mile radius of Cheyenne. This number includes over 15,000 Wyoming Veterans who will now be served with a VA burial option for the first time.