By Dave Ongie
At the entrance of the Washington County Veterans Memorial Park is an archway with the words “Freedom is Not Free.”
On Monday morning, representatives from the Mountain Home National Cemetery gathered along with Rep. Phil Roe, Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs Randy Reeves and other dignitaries to announce the construction of another archway across Veteran’s Way that will serve as the entrance to Mountain Home National Cemetery.
“There will be an archway that will face this beautiful archway, and it will have the words, ‘Where Heroes Rest.’ The design and construction of this will take just a few months, and our goal is to have this done in time for your Memorial Day celebration next year,” Reeves said.
Moments later, Reeves helped Jeny Walker, the director of the Mountain Home National Cemetery, unveil the renderings of the new project. The archway at the cemetery is expected to better connect the veterans memorial to the VA campus.
“The arch will enhance the visitors’ experience when they come here,” Reeves said. “They’ll be able to come and visit this beautiful plaza, and then just walk across the street and observe that arch that will be connected. We’ll work with the city and the county and all the folks here to ensure that comes together when we build it.”
Reeves also took the opportunity to present Walker and her team with the National Cemetery Administration Organizational Excellence Award.
“What this means is that this cemetery, all the requirements have been inspected, and they are at the very, very top,” Reeves said. “They are the epitome of excellence in serving veterans and their families.”
The Mountain Home National Cemetery has been in service for almost 120 years. More than 17,000 veterans and their families have been laid to rest in the cemetery. Earlier this summer, a new annex was dedicated that will allow the cemetery to be expanded in order to meet the needs of veterans and their families for years to come.