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Veterans tour of national cemetery offered

September 08, 2010 - At 8 a.m., Sept. 21, Coats Village Funeral Home, 135 South St., Ortonville, invites veterans and their spouses to join them for a free breakfast and a bus trip to Holly's Great Lakes National Cemetery for a personal tour of the property.

Great Lakes National Cemetery is the second national cemetery built in Michigan and the 122nd in the national cemetery system.

"It's wonderful we have a great veterans benefit such as the national cemetery in our backyard," said Roy Langolf, manager of Coats Village Funeral Home. "We are providing the trip to the Great Lakes National Cemetery as a means to honor as many of our area veterans as possible by providing the information that will be beneficial."

Great Lakes National Cemetery is located approximately 50 miles northwest of downtown Detroit, in Holly Township. The cemetery borders Fagan Lake, and is located on a portion of a land grant from the federal government to Terrance Fagan in 1836. Historically, the property served as farmland until it was acquired by the National Cemetery Administration in 2002.

Rick Anderson, director of the Great Lakes National Cemetery, said it was established in 2005, with the first burial taking place on Oct. 17 of that year.

"The cemetery has changed a lot since back in 2005. Today we're at 9,900 veterans and their dependents buried at the Great Lakes Cemetery. This is the least used and the least understood benefit veterans have."

Anderson said the two most frequently asked questions by veterans are about cost and whether veterans' spouses can be buried there, too.

"There's no cost once they come inside those gates of the National Cemetery," he said. "And yes, spouses and dependents can also be buried here."

Detals: Due to limited bus capacity, RSVPs are required - 248-627-3412 to reserve space.

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