A dedication ceremony was held at the Northern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Caribou recently in recognition of the completion of the last of the 216 columbarium niches now in place at the cemetery site. The niches are recessed compartments designed to hold cremated remains.
According to Harry Hafford, chairman of the cemetery, the National Cemetery Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided funding for the first three columbarium walls of niches as well as the most recent one. The NMVC Corp., through fundraising efforts, provided funds to have two additional walls of niches constructed.
A large number of area veterans and representatives of local veterans organizations including the American Legion and VFW posts attended the Aug. 23 dedication ceremony. Also on hand were representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.
Dignitaries who spoke during the brief ceremony included Gen. Brent Boyles, commander of the Maine National Guard, and Frank Salvas, director of the State Cemetery Grants Service, a division of the National Cemetery Administration. Peter Ogden, director of VA services in Maine, and David Richmond, supervisor of the Maine Veterans Cemeteries, also attended the affair.
The cemetery is located on a 20-acre parcel off Lombard Road and was dedicated in June 2003. Before the cemetery was established, northern Maine veterans had to be buried in Augusta, a more than five-hour drive from Caribou.
For more information regarding the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery Corp., go to www.maineveteranscemeterycaribou.org.