New veteran's cemetery nears completion in Birdeye

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

BIRDEYE, AR (KAIT) - With Veterans Day this Friday, we take time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Veteran's cemeteries are few and far between in Arkansas, but a new cemetery is nearing completion in Birdeye. Developed from donated land, it will soon be available for interments.

Cemetery Manager Mark Frank says the cemetery is expecting to perform its first interments in December.

The first section of graves is already prepared with double decked vaults capable of handling a veteran and spouse. Frank says when all phases of construction are complete. the cemetery will have enough space is to handle burials for at least 100 years.

The cemetery is quite large nearly a hundred acres which will be developed in phases. The first phase covers about 47 acres and includes the main flag pole areas and the administration building and maintenance building.

Also ready is the columbarium. These are above-ground Plots for urns for those who chose to be cremated.

Frank, "Right now we are holding about 500 plots in the columbarium's with the option to bring in 250 to 500 more."

There is also space set aside for urns to be buried in the ground as well.

At a veterans cemetery there is no choice of plot location. Basically Frank says it's first come first served. There is the possibility there could be open graves right next to each other therefore it has been decided there will be no grave side ceremonies. Every thing will be conducted under the committal shelter at no charge to the veteran's family.

Frank, "All eligible veterans are able to be buried here along with their spouses and in some cases their children. There are certain criteria they have to meet to be buried out here."

Frank says some veteran cemeteries are extremely busy, every day with up to 26 burials a day being quite common.

"We are looking at the possibility of a 150 to 200 hundred a year which will average around 3 to 5 burials a week out here."

Frank says that when the administration building is complete there will be a kiosk inside with a computer  called "The grave site locator." Frank, "So when you come in and you want to find out where a certain person is buried. You can just type in a name and it actually prints out a map of where the veteran is buried."

There is criteria that must be met to be buried in a Veteran's cemetery. To find out specific details you need to click on the Arkansas Department of Veteran's affairs link with this story and under cemeteries click on "Birdeye".

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