2013-08-22 / News

State receives money to upgrade vets cemetery

The state Division of Veterans Affairs has recently been awarded a grant of almost $658,000 for the construction of a new columbarium at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery.

A columbarium is a cemetery building with vaults that house cremation urns. The new columbarium will have 2,160 niches. It will be the third columbarium at the cemetery.

“The fine men and women in the military have sacrificed so much for our state,” said Gov. Lincoln Chafee. “Rhode Island must be a state that honors and respects them by doing all we can both during and after their service.”

The Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery is located at 301 South County Trail in Exeter. There are currently 37,620 gravesites at the 338-acre site and 1,300 niches, with 1,200 burials taking place there each year. The grounds, and the 31 monuments dedicated to the veterans of specific wars and conflicts, are open to the public.

Kim Ripoli, associate director of the Division of Veterans Affairs, noted the rise in the number of cremations in the United States.

“Statistics show that the rate of cremations has nearly doubled in the last fifteen years,” she said. “As veterans and their families make these decisions, we want to be able to honor their choices and to have facilities at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery that are worthy of Rhode Island’s veterans.”

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