Arkansas Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Expand State Veterans Cemetery
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton and U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, French Hill and Steve Womack introduced legislation to transfer nearly 140 acres of land at Camp Robinson to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA). The land conveyance will facilitate expansion of the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.
“Without this land transfer, the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery will run out of room and be forced to turn families of veterans away. The land conveyance is a practical solution to an imminent need, and I’m honored to sponsor legislation giving space for veterans to be laid to rest alongside their fellow patriots,” Westerman said.
“This is a commonsense solution that helps the Army Guard and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. The land is costly to maintain and not useful to the guard for training. It will provide a valuable expansion of burial space for veterans – an important step to securing a place of honor for future generations of veterans. This land conveyance will help the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs provide the men and women who served in uniform an appropriate final resting place that acknowledges of their service and sacrifice,” Boozman said.
“Our veterans deserve burials that reflect their service to our nation and the state of Arkansas. This expansion will ensure that we keep our promises to Arkansas veterans who choose to be buried alongside their brothers and sisters in arms,” Cotton said.
“Our men and women in uniform make substantial sacrifices so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we hold dear. We must continue to honor their commitment to our country. This land transfer to will ensure that our veterans are not turned away from having an appropriate burial ground that acknowledges their service,” Crawford said.
“Expanding the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery ensures that we can continue to honor veterans and their families with fitting tributes that memorialize their service to our country. Transferring this land from the Arkansas National Guard to ADVA is an efficient and effective solution that benefits all Arkansans,” Hill said.
“The grounds where America’s heroes lie are some of the most sacred among us. By allowing for the expansion of Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, this bill ensures that our brave veterans can be laid to rest among their comrades in uniform for generations to come. It’s an honor they earned through service, and I call on Congress to swiftly approve this proposal,” Womack said.
The land that will be transferred from Camp Robinson to the ADVA has not been used for Army Guard training in over 25 years. The land lies in the flight path of the North Little Rock airport runway, which limits the use of training devices such as artillery simulators, flares and smoke. It is also separated from the main areas of Camp Robinson and has limited access.
The land transfer to the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at North Little Rock will enable continuation of first burials beyond 2045, when the current cemetery is predicted to reach capacity. Rather than developing an additional cemetery in central Arkansas, the land conveyance provides an expansion opportunity which will be a more cost-efficient alternative for the ADVA.