Expansion underway at veterans cemetery in Suffolk

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SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The final resting place for thousands of military veterans is expanding. Part of Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk is under construction.

It’s all thanks the largest federal grant given to a Virginia Department of Veterans Services’ cemetery.

The Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery sits on 74 acres of land in Suffolk. It’s the final resting place for 12,000 veterans and their spouses. Soon, it will be able to accomodate thousands more. 

“We want them to feel comfortable,” said Dan Kemano, director of Virginia Veterans Cemeteries. “It’s really nice to come out here at sunrise and just sit. It’s so quiet and so peaceful.”

There are three veterans cemeteries in the commonwealth and Kemano oversees all of them. This cemetery is currently going through its third expansion, which will add at least 7,000 grave sites for veterans and their spouses. Plus there will be a new entrance, bigger office, back-up generator and perimeter fence. 

He said, “You’ll be able to look out here in this whole center section and you won’t be able to tell there’s anything there.”

Underground, there will be cement burial plots for veterans and their spouses. 

“Usually start a state veterans cemetery with 26-30 acres. OK, it doesnt take too long to fill the gravesites,” said Kemano. “So then you go back to the VA and you work up a grant process, and then you extend the life expectancy of that cemetery.”

State veterans cemeteries get grants from the national VA. This expansion project is funded by a $10 million grant, which is the largest grant to date for expansion any state veteran cemetery has received from the national VA.. 

In total, the cemetery has 74 acres to work with, which means it should be fully operational for roughly 80 more years.

This expansion project stared in January and should be complete in the next four to five months.

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