``Montgomery County needs a National Veterans Cemetery, and this is an ideal place. It is something that the veterans want,'' Hoeffel said.
The proposed site is on the north side of the Schuylkill off Pawlings Road in Lower Providence, Montgomery County, on land donated to the park in 1979. It is separate from the remainder of the park and contains no historical markers, Hoeffel said.
The new bill, introduced in the U.S. House last week, is similar to legislation sponsored in July by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) and Hoeffel's predecessor, former Republican U.S. Rep. Jon Fox. That measure, which requested the cemetery at the identical location, died in committee.
A spokesman for Specter's office said Specter was considering reintroducing the measure in the Senate.
DiMino, formerly of Norristown and chairman of the Central Montgomery County All-Veterans Council, said the cemetery would be a gift to veterans living nearby.
``I think whenever Memorial Day comes around, everyone just thinks about heading to the Shore,'' he said. ``But for us, we think about the boys we went off to war with. Of the seven or eight fellows that I left with, I am the only one living. I think having a cemetery here would help people remember.''
Six local veterans' groups have already endorsed the legislation and drafted resolutions for consideration by state organizations at conventions during the summer, DiMino said.
In the Philadelphia metropolitan area, there are close to 500,000 veterans, said Jim Seader, director of the Montgomery County Department of Veterans Affairs.
``The closest national cemetery [in Pennsylvania] for these veterans to be buried is Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville. That is more than 90 miles away,'' Seader said. A national cemetery in Philadelphia is full. ``I am glad to see that there is legislation again. I hope it will go somewhere.''
The bill, called the Valley Forge National Cemetery Act, is now before the House Resources and Veterans Affairs Committees, Hoeffel said.
``The entire Pennsylvania delegation in the House has cosponsored the bill,'' Hoeffel said. ``Hopefully, it will be approved.''