Veterans Cemetery Up For Major Upgrades

The Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe soon will have an additional $1 million in federal funds to expand and improve its conditions and services, the Hawaii Congressional delegation announced recently.

The money comes through a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)-administered grant, which will pay for the construction of a family room in the administration building, a new restroom, new storage areas at the committal shelter and associated infrastructure work.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said the legacy of “a dignified final resting place” is a critical part of the nation’s duty to honor the 80,000 veterans and their families served by the state-run cemetery, which opened in 1991 and has experienced some maintenance problems over the years.

New U.S Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard echoed Hirono’s comments, with Schatz thanking DVA Secretary Eric Shinseki for his work. Gabbard, who also serves as a military police captain in the Hawaii Army National Guard, praised the grant as a significant gesture to honor veterans’ contributions, service and sacrifice.

In 1986, City Councilman and businessman John Henry Felix formed a coalition with state and federal lawmakers to establish the cemetery; he also donated more than 35 acres of land next to state-owned property for the project.