A Solemn Place To Remember Our Heroes This Memorial Day

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The Battle Cross Monument on the memorial walkway is a powerful symbol honoring fallen soldiers. It was unveiled May 30, 2011, and at its center is a bronze sculpture representing the traditional Battle Cross, which consists of combat boots, rifle, and helmet. The backdrop features a glass wall with images of more than 60 New Hampshire soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the present, and the inscriptions “United States Army,” “All Gave Some,” and “Some Gave All.”

All Photos and Story by BOB CHAREST

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on the memorial walkway, above, is one of 134 Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments located across the United States. The two-sided tribute is made of black granite and features scenes etched on each of the four panels including Homeland, Family, Patriot and Sacrifice. At the center is a silhouette of a saluting service member. The monument was placed by a foundation that honors Hershel “Woody” Williams of West Virginia, a U.S. Marine who served in the Battle of Iwo Jima and received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Williams died in 2022.

The rows upon rows of uniform grave markers, above, are located in several sections of the cemetery. The master plan has six additional phases for future expansion on the remaining 90 acres. With future expansion, the cemetery has enough acreage to expand and accommodate veterans and their eligible dependents for many years to come. The State Veterans Cemetery was the first state cemetery east of the Mississippi River to allow the interment of nonresident veterans.


BOSCAWEN – The New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery is a hallowed place. The rows upon rows of gray headstones, all uniform in size and appearance, lined in perfect formation and stretching back toward the abutting forest, are a sight that touches the emotions.

It’s a spectacle that gives way to the reality that here under the surface lie heroes and service members and the family members who loved them, in this place created to honor their commitment to their country. The sheer volume of stones and columbaria is awe-inspiring.

Set on 104 acres in rural Boscawen, the actual cemetery uses only 14 of those acres to preserve the remains of service men and women and members of their families in a manicured, peaceful setting. The land was once a state forest, and the additional acreage allows space for future burials.

The cemetery is just under 27 years old, established by the State Legislature in 1997, created through state and federal funds. More than 17,500 have since been buried or had their remains interred there, beginning with the first burial in November of 1997 of a U.S. Navy veteran of both World Wars.

The cemetery is a destination for many, including school groups, who wish to honor New Hampshire’s
military veterans. Special events are hosted throughout the year, and The New Hampshire Global War on Terror Memorial honors the men and women of the Granite State who answered the call to serve as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was dedicated May 30, 2007.many volunteers help decorate graves with wreaths and flags.

The New Hampshire Global War on Terror Memorial, above, honors the men and women of the Granite State who answered the call to serve as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was dedicated May 30, 2007.

Memorial Day will be observed at the cemetery on Thursday, May 30, beginning at 11 a.m. in a public event hosted by the VFW of New Hampshire. Those planning to attend are advised to arrive early, bring sunscreen, bug spray, water, and a lawn chair.

Volunteers were busy this past week placing flags for Memorial Day. This is the only time of the year that potted plants are allowed at the cemetery, and they will by removed Friday, May 31, and replanted in various gardens around the cemetery. Volunteers are invited to help with the replanting and are asked to bring their own small shovels and garden gloves at noon. All flags will be removed from the graves that day.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, above, is located on the memorial walkway. This tribute to soldiers who served in the Vietnam War was dedicated on May 22, 2004, and honors all New Hampshire veterans who lost their lives in the conflict. 

Above, this monument is dedicated to Native American veterans, both American and Canadian, who served to protect this land called Turtle Island. Turtle Island is a name for Earth or North America, used by some American Indigenous peoples, as well as by some Indigenous rights activists.

The cemetery is aided by the nonprofit New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery Association, organized to accept charitable donations to support the cemetery.  Since forming in 2000, the organization has built the 20 points of the N.H. Military History Walkway, installed stained glass windows in the on-site chapel, and helped raise money for the construction of the N.H. Veterans Heritage Learning Center and exhibits.

One of the special features of the cemetery is the Memorial Walkway located behind the administration building.  Here, monuments have been placed thanks to generous donations from businesses, individuals, and groups throughout the state.  Memorial pavers and bricks are also found along the pathway.

The cemetery grounds, vestibule of the administration building and restrooms are open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours. The vestibule of the administration building has a grave locator, cemetery applications and other pertinent information. The administrative offices are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for state holidays.  Interments are held weekdays, with more than 100 veterans and their family members interred most months.

Throughout the cemetery, columbarium structures, above, hold the cremated remains of service members and their family. The cemetery recently announced that funding has been approved for the addition of 3,280 columbarium niches in 11 structures along with 4,225 in-ground cremation plots in seven sections at the cemetery, with work beginning in late summer or early fall.

For eligibility requirements, any fees and a burial application form, visit the cemetery’s website at  www.nhsvc.com. The cemetery is located at 110 Daniel Webster Highway, Boscawen.

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