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Groundbreaking ceremony

Dublin – A historic milestone took place at the Dublin’s Lion Club, when Frank K. Salvas Sr., director, of the National Cemetery Administration presented a $7.2 million ceremonial check to Virginia’s secretary of public safety, John W. Marshall. The funds will be used for phase one construction of the first veterans cemetery in Southwest Virginia, to be located in Dublin.
In his speech to the hundreds of veterans, their families and others who attended the ceremony on Oct. 19, Congressman Rick Boucher said that Southwest Virginia does not currently have a veterans cemetery but the need is great." A higher percentage of our population has served in the military than the national average," he added, "and the nearest veterans cemetery is located in the eastern part of Virginia."
Congressman Boucher recounted how in the fall of 2006, steps were taken toward achieving this goal when a bill he introduced was passed by Congress directing the U.S. Army to convey 79.8 acres of federally owned land to the Commonwealth of Virginia for "establishing the region’s first veterans cemetery."
One of the guests Boucher honored was Lt. Col. Andy Munera, the commander at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, as the land on which the new cemetery will be located was previously a part of the Radford plant. "The efforts of its officials have been crucial to achieving the success we mark today," Boucher said.
In his remarks, Lt. Col. Munera speaks of the brave men and women from Southwestern Virginia "who have displayed great heroism, and demonstrated the true meaning of selfless service by serving in the Armed Force of the United States." He adds that the 80-acre Virginia veterans cemetery will serve veterans "well into the next century." He emphasizes that although sacrifices of veterans can never be repaid "we must reaffirm each day that their heroic deeds will always be remembered."
The Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery will be built in four phases. The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs has awarded the $7.2 million to cover the cost of constructing Phase 1 of the project on 24 acres of land in Dublin with completion date expected in the fall of 2010. This phase of construction will include the main entrance, full casketed and cremation burial areas, a columbarium, a memorial garden and scatter garden areas, roads, an assembly area, committal shelter, cemetery office, maintenance complex, and supporting infrastructure.
The internment areas will include 5,167 standard burial plots; 2,750 pre-placed crypts; 500 in-ground cremation spaces; and 625 columbarium niches.
Once completed the new veterans cemetery is expected to serve some 60,000 veterans and family members living in Southwest Virginia. Boucher says veterans who have a desire to be buried in the cemetery are encouraged to submit a pre-application for eligibility. He stipulates that members of the U.S. Armed Forces, who die on active duty; who retire from military service or are honorably discharged are eligible. In addition, arrangements may be made for legal spouses of veterans and their children to be interred at the cemetery.
Vince Burgess, Commissioner of Virginia Department of Veterans Services, introduced guests and elected officials at the ceremony. Others who addressed the crowd and participated in the actual ground breaking included Dublin Mayor Benny Skeens, Town of Pulaski councilman Larry Clevinger, Pulaski Co. Board of Supervisors chairman Joe Sheffey, Patrick Green of the Board of Veterans Services, and Senator John S. Edwards of the 21st District of Virginia.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the crowd assembled for the groundbreaking event at the site, which was highlighted with a 21-gun salute by local veterans, the playing of “Amazing Grace” on bugle by TSgt. Carl Schlager and the release of two cages of doves. The American Legion Post 7 of Pulaski provided refreshments.

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Groundbreaking ceremony

Dublin – A historic milestone took place at the Dublin’s Lion Club, when Frank K. Salvas Sr., director, of the National Cemetery Administration presented a $7.2 million ceremonial check to Virginia’s secretary of public safety, John W. Marshall. The funds will be used for phase one construction of the first veterans cemetery in Southwest Virginia, to be located in Dublin.
In his speech to the hundreds of veterans, their families and others who attended the ceremony on Oct. 19, Congressman Rick Boucher said that Southwest Virginia does not currently have a veterans cemetery but the need is great." A higher percentage of our population has served in the military than the national average," he added, "and the nearest veterans cemetery is located in the eastern part of Virginia."
Congressman Boucher recounted how in the fall of 2006, steps were taken toward achieving this goal when a bill he introduced was passed by Congress directing the U.S. Army to convey 79.8 acres of federally owned land to the Commonwealth of Virginia for "establishing the region’s first veterans cemetery."
One of the guests Boucher honored was Lt. Col. Andy Munera, the commander at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, as the land on which the new cemetery will be located was previously a part of the Radford plant. "The efforts of its officials have been crucial to achieving the success we mark today," Boucher said.
In his remarks, Lt. Col. Munera speaks of the brave men and women from Southwestern Virginia "who have displayed great heroism, and demonstrated the true meaning of selfless service by serving in the Armed Force of the United States." He adds that the 80-acre Virginia veterans cemetery will serve veterans "well into the next century." He emphasizes that although sacrifices of veterans can never be repaid "we must reaffirm each day that their heroic deeds will always be remembered."
The Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery will be built in four phases. The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs has awarded the $7.2 million to cover the cost of constructing Phase 1 of the project on 24 acres of land in Dublin with completion date expected in the fall of 2010. This phase of construction will include the main entrance, full casketed and cremation burial areas, a columbarium, a memorial garden and scatter garden areas, roads, an assembly area, committal shelter, cemetery office, maintenance complex, and supporting infrastructure.
The internment areas will include 5,167 standard burial plots; 2,750 pre-placed crypts; 500 in-ground cremation spaces; and 625 columbarium niches.
Once completed the new veterans cemetery is expected to serve some 60,000 veterans and family members living in Southwest Virginia. Boucher says veterans who have a desire to be buried in the cemetery are encouraged to submit a pre-application for eligibility. He stipulates that members of the U.S. Armed Forces, who die on active duty; who retire from military service or are honorably discharged are eligible. In addition, arrangements may be made for legal spouses of veterans and their children to be interred at the cemetery.
Vince Burgess, Commissioner of Virginia Department of Veterans Services, introduced guests and elected officials at the ceremony. Others who addressed the crowd and participated in the actual ground breaking included Dublin Mayor Benny Skeens, Town of Pulaski councilman Larry Clevinger, Pulaski Co. Board of Supervisors chairman Joe Sheffey, Patrick Green of the Board of Veterans Services, and Senator John S. Edwards of the 21st District of Virginia.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the crowd assembled for the groundbreaking event at the site, which was highlighted with a 21-gun salute by local veterans, the playing of “Amazing Grace” on bugle by TSgt. Carl Schlager and the release of two cages of doves. The American Legion Post 7 of Pulaski provided refreshments.

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