Thousands of veterans are buried at the Fayetteville National Cemetery, but with space for future burials limited a local state representative is stepping up with a donation.
State Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, presented a $3,303 check at Monday’s (May 27) Memorial Day ceremony. The money will be used to buy additional land to ensure there will be room for future burial sites.
"What this group does is help the Fayetteville National Cemetery by purchasing additional land, if we didn't have these folks and doing the great work they're doing the cemetery would be full in very short order," Collins said.
Another $3,000 check was donated to the cemetery back in January. As a state representative, Collins receives state funds for general improvement projects.
The Fayetteville National Cemetery has been a final resting place for veterans since 1867. Hundreds gathered for the ceremony to honor the area’s veterans.
"We have all fought for this country and it's a pleasure to see people that will come out and appreciate what we did to be free," said Frank Brooks, Jr., 88, a veteran of the Navy.
Brooks’ spent more than 30 years of his life fighting for the nation’s freedom.
“We thank God for those that made it and for those who are gone too,” he said. “They'll always be remembered. I’ve got a brother-in-law and a sister here in the cemetery.”
Nearly 8,000 flags symbolize the number of veterans who lay at rest inside the cemetery. A good number of those bodies were never identified, according to officials.
This Memorial Day ceremony celebrates the lives of all veterans. Many are survivors with memories that have made lasting impressions.
"When you killed a German soldier, it's just terrible,” said Army veteran Eugene Keister. “I had nightmares a lot of times. I would sweat and my wife would say, 'What's the matter with you?' I’d just roll over and sweat some more. That’s about all I have to say about it."
A department of veterans report shows that nearly 30 percent of recent veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.