Tester, Rounds Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Establish Grant Program Honoring Veterans

The Memorializing Veterans Act to support the Veterans Legacy Program, honoring the lives of our nation’s men and women who served

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced the Memorializing Veterans Act today, bipartisan legislation establishing a grant program to help honor the lives of our nation’s veterans. 

The Veterans’ Legacy Program (VLP) is an educational initiative from the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) under U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) which commemorates veterans interred in NCA cemeteries through partnerships with institutions of higher learning. Under current law, institutions of higher education experience difficulty obtaining and utilizing federal funding through VLP. This bill would establish a grant program to administer funds more efficiently, facilitating research and developing educational tools to increase public awareness of veteran service and sacrifice. 

“Since 2016, the Veterans Legacy Program has been expanding and deepening our understanding of the men and women who fought to protect our freedom,” said Senator Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Our bipartisan bill creates a user-friendly system that streamlines funding for universities who have made it their priority to document, share, and honor the lives of our veterans. This grant program will allow students, teachers, and researchers in Montana to focus on what’s at the core of this nation: memorializing those who served our armed forces and inspiring future generations to do the same.”

“For more than 40 years, the United States has maintained its military superiority thanks to an all-volunteer force stepping up to the plate,” said Senator Rounds. “Educating the next generation about the service and sacrifices made by our veterans is one way we can encourage young people to join the armed forces and continue this proud tradition. Many South Dakotans have proudly served our country. Sharing their stories can show our state’s young people the honor of serving in our armed forces.”

The Memorializing Veterans Act would make grants available to recipients such as institutions of higher learning, local education agencies, and non-profit entities with a history of community engagement. These grants could be used for research related to national, State or Tribal veterans’ cemeteries, to produce educational materials or to promote community engagement about the history of the veterans interred at those cemeteries. 

“The American Legion is proud to support efforts to properly memorialize America’s veterans and educate future generations on the legacy of our nation’s heroes,” said Ralph P. Bozella, Chairman of The American Legion Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission. This legislation does just that by allowing VA to issue grants to conduct cemetery research and produce educational materials for the Veterans Legacy Program. It is imperative that we continue to invest in programs that honor and preserve the memory of America’s veterans.  

“Perpetuating the memory and history of our dead is one of the VFW’s founding principles,” said Carlos Fuentes, Director National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). “The Veterans Legacy Program ensures the memories and stories of the brave men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform are preserved in perpetuity. The VFW is proud to sponsor this important legislation, which would improve the Veterans Legacy Program.”