VA Opens Washington Crossing National Cemetery

New VA cemetery open in PennsylvaniaSecretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the opening of the 131st national cemetery with the first burials taking place Jan. 20 at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Pa.

“With the opening of this new national shrine, many thousands of Pennsylvania and New Jersey Veterans and their families will have interment options available nearby, in a setting that is worthy of their service,” said Secretary Shinseki. “Providing lasting tributes to their sacrifices is one of VA’s most honorable missions, and one we are proud to fulfill.”

Administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the new 205-acre national cemetery in the Philadelphia area will serve Veterans’ needs for at least the next 50 years. The cemetery, which will serve approximately 580,000 Veterans in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, is located in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, about three miles northwest of Interstate 95 and less than three miles from Washington Crossing Historic Park.

In January 2008, VA awarded a design contract to Cairone & Kaupp Inc. of Philadelphia. VA has completed a 12-acre early burial area with temporary facilities, which will be followed by a second, larger construction stage of the project.

When that stage is completed, the 64-acre development will provide 15,500 full-casket gravesites, including 15,100 pre-placed crypts, 6,500 in-ground cremation sites and 4,100 columbarium niches.

The new cemetery will also include an administration and public information center complex and public restrooms, a maintenance facility, a cemetery entrance area, a flag assembly area and committal shelters for funeral services. Other infrastructure design elements include roadways, landscaping, utilities and irrigation.

The state’s other VA cemeteries are Philadelphia National Cemetery, Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies. The Philadelphia National Cemetery no longer has burial space.

Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents. Other burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible decedents may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.

In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites. More than three and a half million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s national cemeteries on nearly 19,000 acres of land.

Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the Internet at or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at (800) 827-1000.

For information on Washington Crossing National Cemetery, call the cemetery office at (215) 504-5610. To make burial arrangements at the time of need, call the national cemetery scheduling office at (800) 535-1117.

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