Cremains-only annex to double size of Los Angeles National Cemetery

Julia LeDoux
October 07, 2019 - 3:48 pm
Los Angeles National Cemetery expansion

Los Angeles National Cemetery

A new columbarium will allow more veterans to have a final resting place at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.

The Department of Veterans Affairs dedicated a new cremains-only annex Oct. 5 that will be able to accommodate more than 90,000 veterans and eligible family members.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said the columbarium will allow a new generation of service members to take their place among the past heroes who are interred at the cemetery.

“It will allow this historic landmark to tell new stories about how American men and women stood up, answered the call and defended this nation,” he said.

LA cemetery expansion
Los Angeles National Cemetery

There are currently 90,000 veterans and eligible family members buried at the cemetery. The annex will double the cemetery’s size, according to a VA release.

Joining Wilkie at the event were Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves, Congressman Ted Lieu, actor Gary Sinise, and cemetery director Tom Ruck.

Because the cemetery is located near Hollywood, guests entered the columbarium grounds on a red carpet over which a huge American flag was suspended, the release said.

The new columbarium will cover 13 acres and is the first to be completed as part of the VA’s Urban Initiative program, which will bring additional burial options to veterans and their families living in major cities. Urban Initiative columbaria are also planned or under construction in New York, Chicago, Indianapolis, and the San Francisco Bay area.

 “Veterans who live in this area now have a choice they didn’t have before – a choice to be interred close to home, alongside their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, in a place that will be cared for by a grateful nation in perpetuity,” said Reeves.

Construction on the first phase of the columbarium, covering 4.4 acres of ground, began in September 2017 and cost $17.38 million. The first phase of the project provides more than 10,000 columbarium niches for inurnments. Subsequent phases will be completed as these spaces fill until the final planned capacity of 90,854 niches is reached.

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Reach Julia LeDoux: Julia@connectingvets.com

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