FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 10, 2015
Dave Parker, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Governor Bullock Directs Montana Veterans Affairs Division To Allow Families To Be Graveside During Burials Upon Request
Helena, Mont. - Governor Steve Bullock today announced a directive to the Montana Veterans Affairs Division that ensures military families whose loved ones are laid to rest in a Montana state veteran cemetery will be allowed a graveside service at their request.
“When a Montana veteran is laid to rest, their loved ones should be near them throughout the ceremony, including the graveside burial,” Bullock said.
The old policy, intended to provide greater safety for families as well as respect for adjacent graves, followed the National Cemeteries Administration guidance, only allowed families to be graveside during the burial under exceptional circumstances. Now, the state’s policy has been clarified to allow any veteran’s family to request to be present during the burial.
The Governor noted that allowing a veteran’s family to be graveside is in line with his administration’s and Montana’s history of supporting the state’s veterans and their families. Montana, he said, has a strong, proud tradition of military service, and the state has an obligation to honor its veterans.
Montana has three state veterans’ cemeteries, located in Miles City, Missoula and Helena, and one national veteran cemetery, the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Billings. Today’s directive applies to the state’s cemeteries.