Virginia Continues to Expand its Capacity to Honor Veterans with Final Resting Places that Commemorate Their Service and Sacrifice to our Nation By Dan Kemano

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans—the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. Holding true to the embodiment of

sections are currently under construction. The new garden sections will expand the capacity of the cemetery by an additional 1,260 spaces. Also, included in this project are supportive elements such as a new asphalt access road, sidewalks and landscaping. Planning is underway for future expansion projects at both the Suffolk and Amelia cemeteries. This expansion was made possible by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cemetery Grants Program, which provides funds to establish, expand or improve veterans cemeteries that are owned and operated by a state, federally recognized tribal government, or U.S. territory. Laying Virginia’s veterans and their eligible family members to rest with dignity and honor, while treating their loved ones with respect and compassion, is the foundation of the mission of the cemeteries division of VDVS. I encourage all Virginian’s to visit their veterans cemeteries and take part in this honored tradition of remembrance on Memorial Day and every day. To learn more about Virginia’s three veteran cemeteries visit . Dan Kemano retired from the US NAVY as a Command Master Chief after serving 30 years on active duty. Mr. Kemano currently serves as the Cemeteries Director for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

Memorial Day, theVirginia Department ofVeterans Services (VDVS) works every day at its three state veterans cemeteries—located in Amelia, Dublin, and Suffolk—to ensure that the final resting places of its veterans, and eligible family members, are beautiful places that honor those who have served our nation by providing a sense of beauty and peace. Virginia’s first state veterans cemetery, the Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia, opened in 1997. The Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk and the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin openings followed thereafter in 2004 and 2011. Great care was taken in determining the sites for each cemetery to ensure that all regions of the Commonwealth could provide convenient access to veterans and their families. These state facilities are further complemented by the national cemeteries in Arlington, Culpeper, and Quantico. The number of veterans and families choosing a Virginia state veterans cemetery as their final resting place has risen each year for the past decade, and the cemeteries have been expanded in phases to meet the memorial needs of the men and women who have so faithfully served our country. Expansions occurred at the Suffolk and Amelia cemeteries in 2014. Virginia’s latest commitment to honoring its veterans in perpetuity is demonstrated by construction underway at the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk. Five new columbarium buildings for above ground cremation placements with a total capacity of 1,920 niche spaces and seven new cremation burial ground garden


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B ERNIE H ENDERSON President Funeral Celebrant Associate Since 2010

V irginia C apitol C onnections , S pring 2017


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