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South Dakota dedicates first state veterans cemetery

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -It has been over a year and a half since the initial groundbreaking happened at the veteran’s cemetery, but Monday’s ribbon-cutting has actually been years in the making.

Leaders on the project say over four years of planning and an incredible amount of hard work by both veterans and representatives alike led to Monday’s ceremony.

“To get it seen across the finish line took a lot of effort by a lot of different people, from lawmakers to businessmen and the community coming together,” South Dakota Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden said.

Many at the event said they could not be happier with the results as families, friends and the whole state of South Dakota now have a permanent place to honor those who have died protecting this country.

“In South Dakota, we put a lot of pride in our service and our record of service and we were one of five states to not have a state veterans cemetery, so this was overdue,” said Rhoden.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting event included music, speeches, and an air force flyover all to honor those who have died while in the line of duty.

“Memorial Day and veteran’s ceremonies do honor the fallen but they also celebrate the values that link special men and special women together so may I say God bless those who have given all,” said South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson.

To open the cemetery on Memorial Day meant a lot to many in attendance.

“I’ve lost a lot of families, friends, and people I know, but Memorial Day is a special day and I try to make it to events every year and I try to encourage people to do the same,” said 38-year air force veteran Gary Smith.

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