BIRDEYE, AR (KAIT) - Local and state officials, including Governor Mike Beebe were on hand Wednesday morning for what will become east Arkansas' first veteran's cemetery. They hope it will be a lasting memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
World War II Veteran Ernest Free was at Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony for a new Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetery at Birdeye.
Free said, "This is really something to have it come to Cross County."
He said the new veteran's cemetery will hold significant meaning for those who have served.
"I can drive by and look at it and see so many veteran's graves and so many memories," said Free.
Memories of those who lost their lives fighting for our country.
Free said, "I spent five years in Italy and I saw lots of men come and go and never make it."
Ernest Free is 93 and lives in Wynne. He said that words cannot describe how much the cemetery means to him and all the veterans.
Like Vernon Bynum, who served during the Vietnam era. Now he's the American Legion's Department Commander for the state of Arkansas. He said this project has been in the works for many years and he's glad work is finally underway.
Bynum said, "We want to honor our veterans soul, but we also want to see that they're protected and taken care of. And through this cemetery we know that they have a place of rest for a long, long time."
Governor Beebe said there is enough room for expansion if needed down the road. He also said that the cemetery should be open in about a year.