“It’s a great volunteer effort and an opportunity for us to continue to honor and recognize those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service for their country,” said chairman of the Northwest Louisiana Veterans’ Cemetery Foundation Board, Lee Jeter.
The cemetery is one of five, state veteran cemeteries in the state of Louisiana. A woman on the board, and veteran herself, says she is blessed to have this cemetery and a state veterans’ home, in Bossier City, in their community.
“There is a bond with military people. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re in the Army, the Air Force, or what branch of the service you’re in. We sometimes poke fun at one another, but we love one another because there’s a bond,” said Sandy Franks, member of the cemetery foundation board and president of the Women Veterans of the ArkLaTeX.
There are more than 4,600 veterans laid to rest in the cemetery, but with the number of volunteers, students, military organizations, and civic groups, flags were placed in less than an hour.
“No matter what role people served in our lives, no matter what occupation, we never forget them, especially if they’ve been instrumental in raising us and providing a light of hope and protecting our freedoms here. These are the reasons why I think they should never be forgotten,” said Valerie Jackson, a volunteer from Bossier City.
Every fallen soldier received a flag, whether they had a tombstone, or their ashes were placed in the columbarium.
“They’ve all made a sacrifice in defense of this country. And we need to continue to honor the sacrifices they made, the time that they spend away from their homes, the time they spent on deployment, the time that they spend in the combat zone. We need to continue to honor them,” said Jeter.
Jeter says the foundation is working on a new project for veterans who wish to have their ashes scattered, rather than placed in an urn in the columbarium. The foundation is working to build a designated scatter garden so the ashes can lay untouched.
The cemetery says the flags will be picked up after Veterans Day on Monday, November 13th. Volunteers are invited to help with the effort as well as the effort of putting wreaths on each grave for the holiday season.
“Many times, there are volunteer opportunities that we can’t participate in, so, you know I come to stand for those who couldn’t today, and I know that those have stood for me when I couldn’t stand,” said Jackson.