VA dedicates new cemetery in Maine

Julia LeDoux
August 31, 2020 - 10:47 am

Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs has dedicated a new national cemetery in rural Jonesboro, Maine. 

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie unveiled the dedication plaque for Acadia National Cemeterythe first national cemetery in the state to be open to new interments in nearly 60 years, on Saturday. 

"This new cemetery nestled here in the balsam fir forests of ‘Down East’ Maine is an everlasting shrine to our veterans," said Wilkie in a release. "It reminds us every day of the sacrifices that generations of men and women from this hardy, practical and intensely patriotic corner of the nation have made for all of us." 

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Construction on the first phase of the cemetery is now complete, offering space for more than 1,400 interments including caskets, in-ground burial of cremains, columbaria space for cremains, and a memorial wall.

At full capacity the cemetery will be able to accommodate just over 7,000 interments. It joins three state run veterans cemeteries in Maine, the closest of which is 149 miles from Jonesboro. The only other VA national cemetery in the state, Togus National Cemetery near Augusta, opened in 1866. It was closed to first interments in 1961, though subsequent interments in the same gravesite as another family member has died have taken place in the decades since, according to the release. 

Acadia National Cemetery is the fifth to open under the VA’s Rural Initiative program. Since 2014 VA has dedicated rural cemeteries in Montana, North Dakota, Idaho, and Wisconsin. Cemeteries in Wyoming, Nevada and Utah are currently under construction or planned. 

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The 6.2-acre cemetery is expected to serve a population of more than 23,000 veterans, their spouses and eligible family members within a 75-mile radius of nearby Machias. The first interments at the new cemetery were conducted in July. 

Photos and video of the dedication can be found on the National Cemetery Administration’s Facebook page.

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