Monday, May 08, 2006

Work Begins on Veterans Cemetery

Work Begins on Veterans Cemetery
By Ian Thompson

DIXON - The ground is dry and workers have started leveling the area for the new veterans cemetery planned just west of Dixon.

If everything goes according to plan, the first veterans burials could start within six months in one 14-acre section of the national cemetery.

The cemetery doesn't have a formal name yet. That's still in the hands of the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said Dean L. Moline, the cemetery's director.

Local veterans are lobbying to get the cemetery named the Solano National Cemetery while Sacramento area veterans groups have pushed to have it called the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.

The VA bought the land in July 2004 to establish a 561-acre cemetery because of the large population of veterans in the area. The nearest national cemetery still open to burials is 100 miles away in Gustine.

Local veterans, the California National Guard and Travis Air Force Base's honor guard are starting work to create honor guards for those who will be buried there full honors.

"The Air Force and California National Guard is working hand-in-hand with local veterans and has guaranteed to have people available to render burial honors," Moline said.

It is estimated more than 2,000 people will be buried there during its first year.

"We are just getting started organizing a veterans honor guard," said Vacaville veteran Kathleen Herron, who is working to organize veterans in Solano County. "We are trying to set up foundation with local veterans to work with active duty to get the veterans what they deserve."

They will have their work cut out for them. The honor guard at Gustine National Cemetery conducts burial honors on the average of one every 15 minutes.

"We would like this to be a model for other national cemeteries to aspire to," said Solano County Supervisor Mike Reagan, a retired Air Force officer, during a recent veterans groups meeting.

Moline set up temporary offices at the VA Outpatient Clinic on Travis Air Force Base to oversee construction, work with local veterans and organize the cemetery's administration.

Local veterans interested in helping organize an honor guard can call Herron at 430-7023.

For more information about the national cemetery near Dixon, call Moline at 437-1849.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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