Jonesboro, ME — Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins delivered remarks at the Dedication Ceremony for the Acadia National Cemetery in Jonesboro. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie was also in attendance and provided remarks.
“I am honored to join you to dedicate this final resting place for our heroes,” said Senator Collins. “We who enjoy the blessing of freedom are profoundly grateful to those who have given so much to defend it. For subsequent generations, all who come to this hallowed ground will look down the rows of headstones, columbaria, flowers, and flags, and see our history. It is a history written by ordinary men and women who answered the call to defend liberty. It is a history cherished by a people seeking peace.”
"This new cemetery nestled here in the balsam fir forests of ‘Down East’ Maine is an everlasting shrine to our Veterans," said VA Secretary Wilkie. "It reminds us every day of the sacrifices that generations of men and women from this hardy, practical and intensely patriotic corner of the nation have made for all of us."
Maine is home to more than 114,000 veterans, the second-highest percentage in the nation. Nearly 26,000 of those patriots live within 75 miles of the new 6.2-acre VA national cemetery. The Acadia National Cemetery is the second VA national cemetery in Maine, and the first to have space for new interments in nearly six decades. At full capacity, the cemetery will be able to accommodate approximately 7,000 interments. Worcester Holdings LLC, associated with Wreaths Across America, donated the land in 2017.
Senator Collins, along with a group of her colleagues, recently introduced the Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 to improve benefits for veterans in the areas of education, pensions, burials, and survivor benefits, among others. The legislation includes elements of the bipartisan Veteran Pension Protection Act, legislation Senator Collin co-authored that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to systematically track victims, scammers, and trends to proactively protect veterans and survivors across the country from predatory pension poachers.
Additionally, Senator Collins is a recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for her work to support veterans.