WASHINGTON (Aug. 19, 2009) -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced that VA has awarded two contracts totaling $8.7 million to prepare the new "Washington Crossing National Cemetery" near Philadelphia, Pa., for its first burials.

"Providing a national cemetery for veterans in Pennsylvania is a priority for VA," Secretary Shinseki said. "This national shrine will honor the military service of thousands of men and women well into the future."

The first contract worth $7.2 million went to U.S. Builders Group Inc., a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business in Detroit, Mich., for construction of a 20-acre tract that will provide burial service for two years while the main cemetery is being developed. That construction contract calls for 5,300 gravesites, 2,800 in-ground cremain sites, a temporary administration and maintenance complex, and a temporary commit service shelter.

A second contract for $1.5 million was awarded to Cairone and Kaupp Inc., a small Philadelphia, Pa., firm, to prepare construction documents. That contract includes design of a permanent administration and maintenance complex, two committal service shelters and a public assembly area, as well as roads, utilities, water distribution and landscaping.

The cemetery's entire 205 acres, when fully developed, will provide burials for 40 to 50 years. Establishing a national cemetery in the Philadelphia, Pa., area will provide burial services to an estimated 580,000 veterans, in addition to their eligible family members.

Veterans with a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and dependent children are eligible for burial in any national cemetery with burial space. Other burial benefits for eligible veterans include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker - even if they are not buried in a national cemetery.

VA operates 130 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico, as well as 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than 3.4 million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict -- from the Revolutionary War to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are buried in VA's national cemeteries.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16