Home City park Griffith and veterans groups lobby to expand Jefferson City National Cemetery

Griffith and veterans groups lobby to expand Jefferson City National Cemetery


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri – Rep. Dave griffith joined several veterans groups in the push for land use of a Jefferson City Park to expand a national veterans cemetery.

Griffith, a veteran who represents Cole County, implored city council to donate 2.5 acres of East Miller Park to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand Jefferson City National Cemetery at a meeting of the advice this week. The move has been in the works for several years, with Griffith joining the effort in 2019 after several veterans contacted him.

“I promised these veterans that I would see this through, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Griffith told the Missouri Times. “They stood up and made a commitment to protect the United States, and in return, there is a promise that they can be buried in a veterans cemetery at no cost to their families, and that is an obligation that the VA should respect. “

Griffith said the VA stopped allowing burials in the cemetery in 1969 and had not budged from reopening the grounds to new burials due to limited space. As city council debates the measure, Griffith said he intends to continue working with administrators to facilitate transportation.

The park, located nearby Lincoln University, would be replaced with a new park a few blocks away as part of the proposal. The new acreage would more than triple the size of the cemetery with 5,000 additional plots, according to Griffith.

The plan has received support from many veterans organizations, including the Jefferson City Veterans Council, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National American Legion – which said the closest national cemeteries for families in mid-Missouri are were more than an hour’s drive from the capital.

“Many of these veteran families cannot or are limited in how often they can visit the graves of their loved ones due to the distance to be traveled, seasonal weather conditions, road conditions and the capacity of the family. ‘age or physical disability,’ the organization said in a statement. support resolution filed earlier this month.

The Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission approved the transfer in February 2020.

The proposal before council is a bill to return property to the city if the VA does not accept the property within the next two years, a provision added by Griffith. The Republican lawmaker said no one opposed the proposal during Monday’s meeting.

Burials in the cemetery date back to 1861, with more than 350 Civil War soldiers buried there before it was officially designated a national cemetery in 1867, according to the VA.

The board is expected to make a decision at its next meeting on October 4.