Fort Smith National Cemetery Hosts World War I Centennial Wreath Laying Ceremony

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The Fort Smith National Cemetery hosted a World War I Centennial wreath laying ceremony on Thursday (April 6).

The National Cemetery Administration announced that national cemeteries across the country will each host a ceremony to commemorate the 353,082 World War I veterans buried in VA national cemeteries across the country.

"We have veterans all the way back to the Civil War including union and confederate troops buried here," Fort Smith National Cemetery director Gerard Lyons said. "All the way up to the global war on terror and it's important. National cemeteries, the burial in it is an earned benefit that every soldier, sailor, airmen gets when they sign on the dotted line and every single one of these headstones is a monument to their service."

Congress voted to declare war on the German Empire on April 6, 1917. When the war ended on November 11, 1918 more than 2 million Americans had served.

Local Marine Corp veterans came to the ceremony to honor the World War I veterans with a gun salute.

"We all have vital roles and we're all brothers and sisters so we are all on the same mission and that's God bless America," veteran Tom Payne said.

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