Construction underway for new National Veterans’ Cemetery in Pembroke
PEMBROKE – The new Western New York National Veterans’ Cemetery under construction is getting a lot of interest from local veterans, according to Nancy Traxler, director of the Veterans’ Service Agency in Albion, and Bill Joyce, director of Veterans’ Services in Genesee County.
Traxler said the cemetery plans its first phase opening in the spring of 2021, followed by the second phase in the fall or following spring. She said there has been a lot of interest from local veterans, and some have already died but requested their ashes be held for burial until the cemetery is open.
Joyce provided a website with information on the cemetery and how to request a plot. It is www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/veterans/needassistance.php.
The cemetery is being built in two phases, as initial bids came in way above budget. Congress previously set aside $36 million for the project, but when all construction bids were much higher, another $10 million was appropriated in December 2019, so that construction could begin.
The press release states the cemetery could open in late December or early 2021, but it will be missing some key features, including an above-ground columbarium for the storage of cremains, an honor guard building for military ceremonies, an ossuary for commingled remains and a memorial wall honoring local veterans interred elsewhere. These items can be built in the phase of work scheduled to take place between 2022 and 2024, according to a VA spokesman.
It is indicated there are 167,000 veterans in Western New York eligible to be buried there.
Phase 1A will consist of 4,000 gravesites – 2,500 for casket interments and 1,500 for inground cremation interments.
Information provided on the website notes that after phase 1A construction is complete, burial services will occur at intervals throughout each weekend to accommodate all services as needed.
Joyce explained that instructions for filling out a National Cemetery Pre-need Application can also be found on the above website.