WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to provide our veterans with a fitting final resting place, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced that the state of Rhode Island will receive $5,732,027 to improve the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter. This grant, which is awarded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will provide for upgrades such as the design of a master plan for future expansion, a new administration building, and a new front entrance to the grounds. The VA will pay 100 percent of the cost associated with the expansion.
“I am pleased that the federal government is providing this funding to upgrade the hallowed grounds of the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter. More space is needed to provide a final resting place for our veterans and their spouses and this money will help lay the groundwork to expand the cemetery’s capacity,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees federal spending on veterans programs. Reed has been working since 2004 to help secure funds for this project and wrote a letter of support to the VA. “Our veterans have served with great distinction and it is imperative that we honor their sacrifices. This grant will help enhance the final resting place for those who served.”
“The Memorial Cemetery in Exeter is among the most sacred spaces in our state, a place where families, friends, and all of us can gather to remember those who gave so much to our nation in times of war,” Whitehouse said. Whitehouse wrote to the VA earlier this year asking to be advised when the funds would be released. “I’m proud that this federal funding will help make these resting grounds a more beautiful, functional place for veterans today and in the future.”
The Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter spans 265 acres and is one of the most active veterans cemeteries in the country. It serves as a final resting place for Rhode Island veterans who have served their country honorably during wartime and their eligible dependents. The grounds of the cemetery include a number of memorials dedicated to veterans of specific wars and conflicts.
Over 20,000 veterans and their eligible dependents are interred at Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery and the cemetery currently averages over 1,100 interments per year.