Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego officially opened last month, providing its first burials of veterans and family members at the new facility.
It was an eventful day for the veterans of San Diego and Imperial Counties. It is reassuring for thousands of the brave men and women who have served our country to know that they will find a final resting place with dignity and honor close to home.
Military honors at the opening ceremony included a rifle salute and the playing of "Taps." Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro gave remarks and was joined by VA and local officials in the interment of cremated remains. Casket burial options will be available in early 2011.
I have worked for years with other members of the San Diego congressional delegation to establish a satellite veterans' cemetery, an annex to nearby Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery which closed to casket burials in 1966. Although it stays active with casketed interments of family members of those currently interred and inurnments of cremated remains, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery will soon run out of crematorium niches.
Property at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was dedicated as the Miramar National Cemetery on January 30, 2010. When completed, the 313-acre Miramar National Cemetery will offer in-ground gravesites for caskets and cremated remains as well as a columbarium, providing a full range of burial alternatives to approximately 235,000 Veterans in the San Diego County area. Riverside National Cemetery, located approximately 90 miles from San Diego, was until now the nearest national cemetery offering full burial options.
The first phase of construction will include approximately 11,500 casket gravesites; 4,900 in-ground cremation sites; 10,000 columbarium niches; an administration building and maintenance complex; two committal service shelters; and a public assembly area. The project will also incorporate systems for water distribution, roads, utilities, signs and landscaping.