FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
AMVETS National Headquarters, June 28, 2018 – Congress must move swiftly to enact H.R. 5588 to repair and maintain the Mare Island Naval Cemetery in Vallejo, California, AMVETS announced today.
The cemetery, which dates back 160 years as part of the oldest West Coast military base, is the final resting place of 800 veterans, including three Medal of Honor recipients. The federal government closed the Mare Island Naval Base in 1996 without allotting any money for the care and maintenance of the cemetery, and its current state of disrepair is the result of more than 20 years of neglect.
“Rep. Mike Thompson’s bill would transfer responsibility for the repair and upkeep of the Mare Island cemetery to the Department of Veterans Affairs, where it belongs. But perhaps just as importantly, it also represents an act of fidelity with, respect for, and duty to, all American veterans of all generation everywhere,” said AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk. “The state of disrepair at the Mare Island Naval Cemetery is a national embarrassment, and the neglect that led to this state of disrepair is a national disgrace. AMVETS insists that Congress act to make it right.”
“Ensuring the sanctity of the final resting place of our veterans is integral to respecting their service. I introduced this legislation to ensure the more than 800 veterans buried at the Mare Island Cemetery are properly honored and I’m humbled to have the support of AMVETS as we continue our fight to restore and maintain this landmark,” said Thompson. “We must ensure the cemetery is preserved for generations to come so we can properly honor the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.”
5588 H.R. 5588 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to seek out an agreement with the City of Vallejo, under which the city would transfer control of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery to the VA.
The cemetery would specifically be placed under the purview of the National Cemetery Administration. The VA would pay no fee to acquire the land, but would assume the obligation of maintaining the cemetery in the future. Click here for the full text of the bill.