Veterans Cemetery Groundbreaking in Newton CountyBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 05 Nov 2009 01:39pm |
More than 50 thousand Mississippi Soldiers and their families will soon be able to make Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery their final resting place. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports.
A historic milestone took place just off highway 80 between Newton and Hickory yesterday. That's where dozens of veterans, politicians and other Mississippian's participated in a ground breaking ceremony for the state’s first veterans cemetery. Colonel Franklin Chaulk is the commander of the 186th refueling wing. He says the project is a fitting tribute for a strong military state.
“Our strength in the National Guard is maintained roughly at a hundred percent. Several thousand of our army soldiers and air guardsmen are deployed at this time. And for the retired military members that have retired and moved to Mississippi or have live here all their lives, I think this is a great day for us.”
The land for the cemetery was donated by Mississippi State University. School President Dr. Mark Keenum helped throw out the first shovels of dirt.
“This is a very solemn occasion that we’re honoring the sons and daughters of Mississippi who have made ultimate sacrifices in defense of our nation. But also giving our veterans an opportunity to choose this as their final resting place.”
Construction is being paid for by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs which owns and operates 3 other national cemetery's in Mississippi. This newest one however, will be maintained by the Mississippi Veterans Board. MVB Chairperson Joe Leslie is one of those who have already dubbed the cemetery as "Arlington of the South".
“We’re going to have about a 60 some foot flag pole out here with a huge flag flying that can be seen from the interstate.”
The first phase of the facility should be complete by spring of 2011 and will accommodate about 5,000 burial sites. For MPB News, I'm Lawayne Childrey.
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