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Idaho's first national veterans cemetery dedicated in Buhl

| August 13, 2020 9:58 AM

BUHL, Idaho (AP) — Officials dedicated the state's first national cemetery in Buhl this week, making burial services available to veterans and their families in the Magic Valley region.

The Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration dedicated the Snake River Canyon National Cemetery on Wednesday, The Times-News reported. Qualified military members and veterans and eligible family members can be buried there, with the VA providing the gravesite, headstone or marker and other services at no cost to the family.

“Each and every one of us dies two deaths,” VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves said during Wednesday's ceremony. “We die the first death when breath leaves us, but we only truly die sometime in the future when no one speaks our name or tells our story.”

Reeves said the National Cemetery Administration exists to ensure the second “death” doesn't happen to veterans.

The 8-acre, $4 million Snake River Canyon National Cemetery was established as part of the VA's Rural Initiative program. The cemetery has more than 900 spaces for casket and in-ground cremation burials, and officials say it will eventually expand to include about 4,500 spaces.