3rd Virginia veterans cemetery planned

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 19, 2009

A new cemetery will join ranks with the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery to serve veterans.

Officials announced this week that the Commonwealth of Virginia has been awarded $7.2 million for a new veterans cemetery in Dublin, Va.

“The residents of Southwest Virginia have consistently stepped forward to defend our nation in all wars,” John W. Marshall, Secretary of Public Safety, said in a press release. “The Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery will be a fitting tribute to their valor and an enduring memorial to their service and sacrifice.”

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According to the press release, the new cemetery will serve roughly 60,000 veterans and family members living in Southwest Virginia.

Dan Kemano, who oversees the Cemetery Program of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, said the new cemetery will not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the Horton cemetery, which is located off Route 460.

“The tendency is people who bury their loved ones live around 50 to 75 miles away from the cemetery they choose,” Kemano said. “Way down in Dublin, they didn’t have anything, and they were using private cemeteries and some of them ventured all the way down to the end of Virginia to the Tennessee/Kentucky border.”

“This will give the veterans in the 75-mile radius there a place now that they can call their own,” he said.

Kemano added that the new place in Dublin is a “beautiful location.”

“It’s a really, really nice piece of property,” he said. “It’s going to be a very nice facility.”

The cemetery will have a groundbreaking next month, and will have four phases of construction, with an estimated completion date of September 2010.

The Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery will be Virginia’s third state-operated veterans cemetery. The other cemetery, the Virginia Veterans Cemetery, is located in Amelia.

Service members who were honorably discharged qualify for burial in one of Virginia’s veterans cemeteries. A gravesite, opening and closing of the grave for the veteran, placement of a government grave marker and perpetual care of the site are provided to the veteran at no charge. Veterans’ spouses and eligible dependent children may be interred for a small fee, currently $300.

The cemeteries are operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.