Cemetery offers Veterans free burial plots - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cemetery offers Veterans free burial plots

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Memory Gardens Cemetery offers free burial plots to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

It's a service they've provided for awhile but they said many veterans are still unaware of it.

"Veterans have served our country. They've fought for us. They've done so many things for us and this is just our way to give back to them to again have a dignified resting place for them," Memory Gardens Administrator Brian Evans said.

Evans said that many veterans know of their benefits when it comes to being buried in one of the national cemeteries run by the VA but that this allows them to stay close to home.

"Here, they get a chance to pick out the spot they want to be in and they also have the chance that, if they're from the Iowa City area, family that wants to come out and visit can be right here," Evans said.

An area in the cemetery is reserved specifically for veterans and their spouses called the Field of Honor, though they can choose to be buried elsewhere.

Unlike national cemeteries, a spouse can be buried by their side rather than only in the same plot.

On Memorial Day, Helen Kottman visited her husband, John, at his grave.

A World War II Veteran, John served for four years in the Army Air Corps.

"He flew over Germany 26 times as a top turret gunner which I learned wasn't a very safe spot to be in that plane," Kottman said.

She said being a veteran was something that he was proud of.

"He was helping his country when they needed him," she said.

Kottman and her husband lived together in Iowa City for many decades and she tries to visit him as often as she can. Though at 92-years-old, it's sometimes difficult.

"I have a picture of him sitting beside me at home and I tell him a lot of stuff," she said.

Free plots for veterans are also offered at their Memorial Lawn location in Ottumwa and at Memorial Park in Burlington.

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