KILMICHAEL – The long-awaited dedication of the new North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery is set for August 16 at 10 a.m., cemetery officials announced last week.
According to Randy Reeves, executive director of the Mississippi Veteran Affairs Board, the dedication service should draw at least 400 people to Kilmichael, including our federal, state, and local officials. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant will deliver the keynote message.
“I encourage everyone to attend the dedication of this beautiful facility to honor the men and women who will be buried here,” Reeves said.
The North Mississippi Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery is a 50-acre cemetery in Kilmichael, serving veterans within a 75-mile radius. The development was funded by a $6.6 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Cemetery Grants Program.
“This facility is one of the best examples of federal, state, and local cooperation I’ve ever seen,” said Reeves. “The real investment is the investment in America’s heroes.”
According to Reeves, many people played a part in bringing the cemetery to Mississippi and Montgomery County, praising the Mississippi’s national leaders, the Mississippi Legislature, Montgomery County, Town of Kilmichael, and the members of the American Legion Post 52 in Winona for their outstanding efforts in the development of the cemetery.
“[The American Legion] was at the front to make sure we had the funding we needed to build the carillon tower,” Reeves said.
Montgomery County was named the location of the cemetery in 2014, with funding coming through in the summer of 2015. The official groundbreaking was held September 2015.
“It almost brings me to my knees when I think about the men and women who would have their final resting place here,” Reeves said. “There is no more patriotic place than Mississippi and right here in Montgomery County. It is a shining light, and this [cemetery] highlights that.”
Reeves, who retired from the Navy after 27 years, said like every other veteran, this cemetery has a special meaning to him.
Cemetery Director Mark Lawson said with the opening of the North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 99 percent of Mississippi veterans will have a veterans cemetery within 75 miles of their home.
According to Lawson, the North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery will serve veterans, their spouses, and their minor children within a 75-mile radius of Kilmichael. It will provide a burial site, opening and closing of the burial site, a committal ceremony, head stone, and perpetual care of the burial site at no charge.
The family is still responsible for funeral home services, a casket, and off-site funeral services.