Ceremonies to inaugurate new Miramar cemetery set for Monday

The Department of Veterans Affairs will conduct two ceremonies to inaugurate the new Miramar National Cemetery on Monday.

In the morning, a consecration ceremony will be held. Retired Navy chaplain, Cmdr. Ronald A. Ritter, will lead local representatives of at least seven religious traditions in a ceremony to consecrate the new cemetery located on Nobel Drive near Miramar Road. The representatives will perform sanctification rites particular to their faiths, which include Roman Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhist, Native American and Hawai’ian. The formal interments of the first 10 deceased veterans will follow this ceremony at 1 p.m.,

followed in the afternoon by the first internments.

The ceremony will include a firing detail and playing of “Taps.”

Steve L. Muro, Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, will speak, and Kirk K. Leopard, Miramar National Cemetery director will be participate as well.

Casket burials will begin in early 2011.

A press release from the Department of Veterans Affairs notes that the new Miramar National Cemetery will include both gravesite and columbarium development that will be available to approximately 235,000 veterans in the San Diego County area. Casket burial options will be available in early 2011.

In its first phase, the site will include about 11,500 conventional gravesites, ,900 in-ground cremation sites; 10,000 columbarium niches; an administration building and maintenance complex; two committal service shelters; and a public assembly area.

Fort Rosecrans closed to first interment casketed burials in 1966, although it stays active with casketed interments of those with family members buried there and inurnments of cremated remains. Riverside National Cemetery is currently the nearest national cemetery offering full burial options.