Cemetery for veterans could be coming to Augusta

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A cemetery dedicated to our veterans could be coming to Augusta, if the state and Veteran Affairs agree with the city.

Today, a committee voted to support a state veterans cemetery.

The official decision can only come after the local delegation lobbies the governor for support, then the state must go through the VA to get approval. It could take years before we see anything.

During a presentation in commission chambers, former Augusta Mayor Bob Young told leaders the item would need to be put on the next delegate session's agenda in order for it to officially move forward.
Adding, if all goes as planned, an application to make this happen likely won't come until 2021.

Young and Forces United asked commission for formal support to get some of the preliminary work done. It's something Young and other leaders already tried to make happen about 20 years ago. The plan halted after changes to the nation's security administration. Young says, he's hoping this time around it's successful for Augusta.

"That's what we had today, a good conversation. The interest is there." Young said. "Now, what we've got to do is get the energy applied to the interest in the community in order to make this happen."

Forces United Director Don Clark echoed that while stressing the need for local veterans to have a proper resting place. Clark told leaders the closest state cemetery for those who have served is Milledgeville, Georgia or Columbia, South Carolina.

"Most importantly just really honoring our veterans in our area, those that lived here, those that have severed can be laid to rest here instead of outside the region."

Clark says there are about 66,000 veterans in the two-state and lower region area that can benefit.

With a state cemetery, the state would be in charge of maintaining and running it at no cost to the local government. But, the plan does require the local government to chose a potential property or location for the cemetery site.

The committee's approval today is only step one to what will be a long process. Young told said it could take up to 5 years before we see an actual cemetery.

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