Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bring a Veterans Cemetery to the Central Coast


In Tuesday's Lompoc Record, there was an article by Denny Anderson, president of the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, regarding the possibility of locating a veterans cemetery on the Central Coast.

Why is a veterans cemetery needed on the Central Coast?
Some 1,600 "Greatest Generation" WWII veterans pass away every single day. There are approximately 24 million veterans in the U.S., including 9 million WWII and Korean War vets in need of final resting arrangements, and yet there is no National Cemetery within 100 miles of California's Central Coast cities. Even the recent Bakersfield and San Joaquin Valley National Cemeteries are out of range for Central Coast veteran families. In addition, interment at a National Cemetery saves veterans approximately $2,000 in burial fees alone, so the lack of a Central Coast National Cemetery is placing a significant burden on the shoulders of Central Coast veterans and their families.
The proposed Central Coast VA National Cemetery would be located near Vandenberg Air Force Base, and would serve veterans from the Central Coast counties of Kings, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. There are an estimated 137,324 veterans in these counties today (if Los Angeles County is included in the mix, that brings the count up to over 345,000). The Veterans Administration estimates that there will be over 15,000 veteran deaths annually.

And let's not forget our troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will be veterans too, someday.

For more information, please visit the web site of the Central Coast National Cemetery. Click on "Get Involved" to download a petition to show your support.

Our Central Coast veterans need and deserve an affordable final resting place close to friends and family. Honor their service by helping to make this a reality with a Central Coast National Cemetery.

"Headstone of Wesley M. Houx." Digital image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, September 19, 2009, Goleta Cemetery, Goleta, Santa Barbara Co., California.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

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