SAN ANTONIO – Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery recently added 43 acres to continue veteran memorial care until at least 2045.
The new space will accommodate nearly 24,000 pre-placed double crypts, 13,000 columbaria niches for cremated remains and an additional 6,000 traditional and inground cremated remains sites, a news release said.
“With this expansion, veterans and their families will continue to have access to the burial benefits they have earned and deserve for many years to come,” Cemetery Director Gerald R. Lefler said. “We will always be here for them in the times when they need us most.”
The cemetery, which was established in 1937, has served as the final resting place for more than 182,000 veterans and eligible family members, Lefler said.
Another milestone was achieved recently when the Memorial Services Detachment performed its 45,000th memorial service at the cemetery. Since 1991, volunteers have seen to it that veterans receive the military honors they are due, including three rifle volleys with the brass shell casings sealed in a box and a bugler playing taps.
The cemetery holds a variety of special events throughout the year.
In addition to ceremonies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, services are held for repatriated remains of previously unidentified servicemembers, unaccompanied veterans whose next of kin is unknown or whose loved ones cannot attend their service and unclaimed veterans whose remains were held by a medical examiner’s office, funeral home or located elsewhere.