Arlington National Cemetery opened a ninth outdoor structure for entombing cremated remains in December. The columbarium is six feet tall and close to half mile long. The outdoor wall will contain some 6,500 remains. It cost $5.6 million to build. About 62% of funerals in the cemetery are now for cremated remains. This vault brings total capacity for cremated remains to 46,000.
Scheduled to occur in 2011, Virginia's Arlington County will exchange a 4.3 ace parcel of land with the federal government, providing up to 3,440 new burial sites in Arlington National Cemetery. An acre can accommodate between 600 and 800 graves.
This move will allow burials to continue on this hallowed ground until 2060. Some 340,000 Americans are currently buried there.
In related news, the Army secretary announced in December that full military honors will be granted to all enlisted soldiers killed in action and slated for burial or inturnment in Arlington beginning Jan. 1, 2009. At least 531 service memberskilled in Iraq or Afghanistan have been buried, intured or memorialized in the cemetery.
Source: February 2009, VFW Magazine.