Cemetery expansion honors veterans

Published 7:47 pm Thursday, October 11, 2018

In one of the best-known speeches ever by an American president, Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa., on Nov. 19, 1863.

In that speech, Lincoln resolved that “from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”

He spoke, of course, of the soldiers who had died in the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg four months earlier. The speech has been intoned many times since to remember our nation’s veterans and consecrate the ground in which they rest.

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While some of the veterans resting at Suffolk’s Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery died in the line of duty, most did not. However, the groundbreaking ceremony held on Wednesday puts us in mind of Lincoln’s words when we consider that this and other veterans’ cemeteries are the “last full measure of devotion” that a grateful nation can give to its veterans and their families in return for their service.

Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery is a world-class facility and is expertly and respectfully maintained by state cemeteries Director Dan Kemano and his team.

On Wednesday, federal, state and local dignitaries gathered to break ground for a $10.2-million expansion project from the Veterans Cemetery Grant Program. This is the third expansion since the cemetery opened in 2004.

The new funds will allow the cemetery to add thousands of double-depth crypts on the front half of the cemetery, expand administrative offices, add a fence and rebuild the main entrance.

These additions will improve comfort and safety for families and visitors as well as make more room for veterans to be able to receive this benefit they’ve earned.

We’re pleased that this fine facility to remember and honor our nation’s veterans, and to give to them our nation’s own “last full measure of devotion,” is in Suffolk. We appreciate the state’s continued investment into ensuring this cemetery can serve our veterans and their families for years to come.