VA Dedicates Northwoods National Cemetery in Wisconsin - National Cemetery Administration
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VA Dedicates Northwoods National Cemetery in Wisconsin

August 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — In a brief ceremony today, VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves dedicated a new national cemetery in rural Harshaw, Wisconsin.

"It is so very fitting that we dedicate this cemetery on the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II" said Reeves. "They call the generation who fought that war the Greatest Generation, but in truth, in every generation this country has found exceptional men and women who have stepped forward to defend the values we hold dear. It is to their eternal memory that we dedicate this space."

The dedication plaque was unveiled by Reeves and Mary M. Kolar, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the number of attendees was limited to fewer than two dozen people, with participants wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Photos and video of the dedication can be found on the National Cemetery Administration's Facebook site, https://www.facebook.com/NationalCemeteries.

The 6-acre Northwoods National Cemetery is expected to serve a population of more than 38,000 Veterans, their spouses and eligible family members within a 75-mile radius of nearby Rhinelander. NCA is working to offer first burials in the coming months dependent on final construction, weather, and other operational considerations. Updated information will be provided to the community and on NCA's website as it becomes available.

Construction is in the final stages of completion, offering more than 3,300 casket and cremation spaces to accommodate burials for at least the next 10 years. The cemetery can provide casket burials, in-ground cremation burials, columbarium niches for cremation burials, and a memorial wall. Subsequent phases of construction will increase this capacity.

Northwoods National Cemetery is the fourth to open under the VA's Rural Initiative program, which provides burial access for Veterans not currently served by a national cemetery within the state or VA grant-funded state cemetery. VA dedicated its first Rural Initiative cemetery, Yellowstone National Cemetery in Montana, in May 2014, its second, Fargo National Cemetery in North Dakota, in September 2019, and the third, Snake River Canyon National Cemetery in Idaho just two days ago. VA will dedicate additional rural cemeteries this year in Maine and Wyoming with cemeteries in Nevada and Utah soon thereafter.

Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.

VA operates 145 national cemeteries and 33 solders' lots and monuments sites in 42 states and Puerto Rico. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans of every U.S. war and conflict, are buried in VA's national cemeteries. VA also provides funding to establish, expand, improve and maintain 117 Veterans cemeteries across the nation, including tribal trust lands, Guam, and Saipan. For Veterans not buried in a VA national cemetery, VA provides headstones, markers, or medallions for placement in private cemeteries.

Kimberly Wright, Director of Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota, will oversee Northwoods National Cemetery. For more information about Northwoods National Cemetery, call 612-726-1127. For information on VA burial benefits, or to apply for burial benefits in advance of need, visit www.cem.va.gov or call (800) 535-1117.