The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (NM DVS) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Angel Fire State Veterans Cemetery Oct. 26, 2019. On Friday, July 25th, 2020, NM DVS held a series of briefings and tours to mark the “soft opening” of New Mexico’s latest State Veterans’ Cemeteries here in the Moreno Valley. The first columbarium interment will be held today, Monday July 27th at 1:00 PM, for a local veteran, Darrel Fugett. He had lived in Eagle Nest for many years and had been a volunteer worker at the Memorial. A number of other services will be held throughout August.
Angel Fire’s Veterans Cemetery is the third of four state-level veterans cemetery’s to open as a result of past Governor Susana Martinez’s State Cemetery Initiative, a program she launched in 2013 with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs financing for VA-funded, state-managed veteran cemeteries. Governor Martinez dedicated the cemetery to honor all who have served in uniform. She said, “New Mexicans have always stood ready to defend our state and nation in the U.S. Armed Forces, and they deserve a final resting place that is close to home.”
The cemetery is built in a serene meadow below the south side of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with current construction and equipment totaling $3.25 million dollars. It will serve, in phased expansions, more than 15,700 veterans and their families. Currently there are 100 in-ground crypts (full body burial), 120 in-ground cremains gravesites (ashes buried in the ground), 200 columbarium spaces, and a memorial wall for those whom have been listed as MIA, Lost at Sea or otherwise declared deceased for which no remains have been found. Pre-applications for Memorial Wall Plaques and Veterans Pre-Application for Burial are available online at www.nmdvs.org/cemetery/. The cemetery is being beautifully landscaped in accordance with existing standards set by the VA for its 136 national cemeteries.