Expansion of VA cemetery needed


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced this week that it had awarded $1.8 million to the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery to expand its facility.
“This cemetery is a vital part of our state’s history and a tribute to all of the brave Delawareans who selflessly served our country with honor and distinction,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, who had worked with various veterans organizations to fund the cemetery’s construction in 1999 when he was governor. “This grant will help ensure that their final resting place is symbolic of their enduring service and high sacrifice.”

The $1.8 million will go to “400 standard burial plots, 1,140 pre-placed crypts, 200 in-ground cremains and 1,280 columbarium niches,” according to the VA.

This is money well-spent. The fact of the matter is that many of this nation’s veterans have gotten older, and the new wars have resulted in a greater need for an expansion of the cemetery. That’s the practical advantage. It also reinforces the notion that the VA, federal government and state officials take this seriously, and are willing to pay to provide a suitable resting place for our veterans. That’s the less-practical, but still important advantage.

It is important to both pay homage to the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in defense of this nation, and to establish the tone that the government is going to take care of its veterans after they pass. We applaud the VA for making this investment for our veterans, as well as Carper for his hard work in initially making the cemetery a reality.

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Sen. Edward Kennedy passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 25, after a battle with cancer. First elected in 1962 to fill the unexpired term of his brother, John F. Kennedy, Kennedy was one of six senators in U.S. history to serve more than 40 years.

Kennedy was often a lightning rod for controversy during his time on the Senate, and brought much of it on himself. He was controversial in his words, found himself in trouble several times in his personal life and was a Democratic party loyalist at all times.

But it’s also important to remember his historic contributions. He was a major player in the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the American Disabilities Act and the Voting Rights Act. Abroad, Kennedy was a significant contributor to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland that brought a semblance of peace to the region and created united leadership in the province.

We pass along our prayers and condolensces to the Kennedy family at this time, and hope that Kennedy’s fiery attitude and convictions are passed along in the Senate.