Los Angeles National Cemetery to hold columbarium dedication ceremony
By Sam Catanzaro
The Department of Veterans Affairs will formally dedicate Los Angeles National Cemetery’s Columbarium Expansion and provide an opportunity for Veterans, families, and community members to see the site and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the Veterans it honors.
The ceremony, which will include remarks by VA and elected officials, the unveiling of a dedication plaque and military honors, will take place on Saturday, October 5, 2019, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the Los Angeles National Cemetery (across the street from the main entrance).
Speakers will include a Keynote by the Robert Wilkie, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Randy Reeves, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. Ted Lieu, U.S. Congressman, District 33, California and actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise.
The Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration (NCA) recently completed the first phase of its columbarium expansion project at Los Angeles National Cemetery. The cemetery closed to new burials for casketed remains in 1978. The new columbarium is an above-ground, cremation-only facility that will serve Veterans and their eligible family members the Greater Los Angeles Area for decades to come.
Construction started in September 2017 for the 4.4-acre project that will include 10,357 niches with an estimated final capacity of 90,854 niches. The first phase of the project includes a committal shelter, restrooms and a gravesite locator kiosk.
The columbarium expansion is the first project under NCA’s Urban Initiative to open.
“The Urban Initiative improves access to burial benefits in certain densely populated areas to better serve Veterans, their spouses and families. In some of the largest urban areas that VA serves – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Indianapolis – the national cemeteries which still have capacity are more than 60 miles removed from the service area core,” says NCA.
“The Urban Initiative improves access to burial benefits in certain densely populated areas to better serve Veterans, their spouses and families.National Cemetery Administration (NCA) U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
These cemeteries inter a smaller percentage of eligible veterans than other large-city national cemeteries that are located closer to its urban core. In most cases, sites that are large enough to provide the full range of burial services over an extended period are not available. VA determined that these cities could be better served by developing space-efficient, columbarium-only cemeteries within or nearer the urban core. The nearest cemetery for Los Angeles Veterans is Riverside National Cemetery, which is approximately 80 miles away.
On October 1, 2019, the National Cemetery Scheduling Office will begin to schedule committal services in the new columbarium for services beginning October 15, 2019. The new columbarium is above- ground, cremation-only.