Tester bill expands his VA headstone fix nationwide

Senator introduces bipartisan bill to allow more people to request VA headstones

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – After making sure the graves of veterans buried in Yellowstone National Cemetery could be marked with VA headstones, Senator Jon Tester is now fighting to expand that right to all of America’s veterans.

Tester recently introduced a bipartisan bill to overturn a VA rule stating that only a deceased veteran’s next-of-kin can request a VA headstone. The policy prevents many veterans’ graves, especially those of homeless veterans, from getting a VA headstone and the honor that comes with it.

The Senator last year worked with Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy and former VA Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro to allow Montana officials to request VA headstones for veterans buried in Yellowstone National Cemetery.

“The tremendous sacrifices of America’s veterans should be honored in life and death,” said Tester, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This change makes sure more veterans get the ever-lasting respect they earned, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with veterans’ organizations on this issue.”

Tester previously worked two VA Secretaries and local veterans groups and officials to bring national recognition to Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery in Laurel by turning it into a National Cemetery. He was the keynote speaker at the cemetery’s dedication this past Memorial Day. Tester also recently helped pass the VA reform bill to give veterans more timely access to health care.