The majority of the funding required to construct a dedicated veterans cemetery on St. Croix will not be available this year, despite receiving federal approval in February. According to the U.S. Virgin Islands Office of Veterans Affairs Director, Patrick Farrell, the funds will not be provided within the upcoming fiscal year.
Although legislation, land, and the 10 percent match have been secured, the remaining 90 percent of the necessary funding from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has not been received. Instead, the federal office has chosen to prioritize repairing and upgrading existing veteran facilities.
The Kings Hill Cemetery on St. Croix and the East End Cemetery on St. Thomas currently have designated areas for veteran burials, but there is no dedicated site locally for the men and women who serve in the U.S. military. The new cemetery would provide burial space for veterans for the next 30 years.
In the meantime, the Virgin Islands Office of Veterans Affairs is exploring alternative funding options and partnerships to accelerate the construction of the veterans cemetery in St. Croix. The office is also working closely with local government agencies and non-profit organizations to ensure that the project remains a top priority.
“We understand the importance of having a dedicated veterans cemetery for our heroes and their families. We are committed to finding solutions and working diligently to make this project a reality,” said Mr. Farrell.
In addition to the veterans cemetery project, the Virgin Islands Office of Veterans Affairs is also focusing on improving healthcare services, housing, and employment opportunities for veterans living in the territory. The office is working on expanding partnerships with local businesses and organizations to provide comprehensive support and resources for veterans and their families.
While the delay in funding for the new veterans cemetery in St. Croix is disappointing, the dedication and persistence of the Virgin Islands Office of Veterans Affairs and local partners ensure that the project remains a priority. As the community comes together to honor and support the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. military, the construction of a dedicated veterans cemetery in St. Croix will eventually become a reality.