by Pam Zubeck
"This welcome and long overdue news represents a significant step toward finally building a cemetery veterans in southern Colorado can call their own," Bennet said. “We're grateful to our troops, our veterans and our military families for everything they've done on behalf of our country. It's time we delivered on this promise."
The Pikes Peak area has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country, estimated at more than 100,000. This new cemetery will help ease demand for space at existing facilities while significantly reducing the cost and distance of travel for families of fallen soldiers. The new cemetery will also enable veterans who reside in Southern Colorado to be buried near the communities they call home.
Bennet led efforts in Washington to bring the cemetery to Southern Colorado. In March 2009, he introduced a bill with Senator Mark Udall to create a cemetery in El Paso County. The following year, he and then-Representative John Salazar met with Secretary for Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to discuss the issue and shortly thereafter, the President’s FY2011 budget included language for establishing such a cemetery. In 2012, Bennet convened a meeting of the Southern Colorado Veterans Cemetery Committee to receive feedback on potential site locations.