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Family pleads for change after young Iraq War vet ineligible for burial in North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery

The mother-in-law of an Iraq war veteran who recently died at 31 is pleading for change after the vet was denied burial in a state cemetery, according to ABC News.

“How can the state of North Carolina turn their back on this. The rejection of allowing CPT Gallagher to be buried in North Carolina State Veterans cemetery,” Wendy Lacey, Capt. James Christian Gallagher’s mother-in-law, wrote on Facebook.

Gallagher was stationed in Fort Lee, Virginia, with his wife and three daughters, when he died last month. He wife Amanda moved to North Carolina to be closer to family.

“When my daughter decided that she needed help, it was the right fit to have her husband buried here,” Lacey told ABC News.

A funeral home denied a free burial plot for Gallagher at the North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, citing ineligibility.

One requirement for a burial plot is that the veteran must have been a North Carolina resident for at least 10 years as of the time of death, according to the North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery Program.

The state worked to provide other options to the family at nearby federal veterans’ cemeteries in Salisbury, N.C., and Florence, S.C., according to Larry Hall, the secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

“At this point, [Amanda] would like her husband to rest in peace, so she is moving forward with Arlington, because she can’t handle the process,” Lacey said. “She doesn’t have the strength to fight it, or keep living.”