The CNMI Office of Veterans Affairs, in collaboration with National Cemetery Administration, broke ground last Tuesday on a planned expansion of the Veteran’s Cemetery in Marpi.
According to press secretary Kevin Bautista, the construction will include three columbarium structures and 240 double-depth crypts. A new gate would also be installed.
The expansion includes the construction of a new administrative building to assist visitors and families to make funeral arrangements, a maintenance building, and on-site restrooms. Also, light fixtures with solar photovoltaic and a committal shelter for when it gets too hot or when it rains are also part of the project.
Gov. Ralph DLG, Torres, the CNMI Office of Grants Management, and the CNMI Office of Veterans Affairs initiated the project in 2017. It was said that the process took them three years to accomplish because they didn’t want to cut corners and had to make sure that they did everything correctly and according to plan.
OVA executive officer Stanley Iakopo believes that the historic property will provide a final resting place and also a tribute to CNMI veterans.
“We all die two deaths. The first time when breath leaves us for the last time; but we only truly die sometime in the future when no one speaks our name or tells our story,” he said.
RNV Construction, which was awarded the contract for the project, will begin construction on Feb. 19, 2020; it is set to completed on Dec. 18, 2020. (Krizel Tuazon)