The creation of the Northeast Oklahoma Memorial Veterans Cemetery continues.
Begun more than a year ago on 23 acres of land donated for the cause by a local veteran, it is located north of Tracker Marina in North Miami.
“The only military cemeteries near here are at least an hour away,” William Huff, junior vice commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 50 of Commerce, said. “It will be nice to have this cemetery right here.”
Huff served in the Army for six years.
“It was like a big family,” Huff said. “People buried in military cemeteries go as far back as the Civil War, the Revolutionary War. They've gone through what I've gone through.
“It's like we chewed the same dirt.
“It's appropriate that we be buried together.”
But, for Huff, his military family is literal.
His father, both grandfathers and an uncle all served this country.
Plans are in effect for the cemetery to be constructed in three stages.
The first two will each create approximately 12,000 plots.
The last stage is to create a park and will cover approximately three and a half acres.
“We discovered that there's mines under that land and it's not good for graves,” Huff said.
When completed, the cemetery will be open to all four-state veterans who were honorably discharged from any branch of military service and their spouse, including those still in the reserves and National Guard units.
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 50 of Commerce, Oklahoma recently donated $20,000 toward the construction of the cemetery.
The Northeast Oklahoma Veterans Funeral Detail, which is supervising the cemetery's construction, recently purchased fencing for the cemetery. It is currently on land of a member of the detail to prevent it being stolen before it can be installed.
The detail meets at 6 p.m. every other Tuesday at the Commerce DAV Chapter 50 Hall in Commerce.
“We would love any veteran or volunteer who wants to help with the construction of the cemetery to come on out,” Huff said.
To help raise money for the development of the cemetery, the funeral detail is hosting a poker run on June 30.
For more information about the cemetery, call the DAV Hall in Commerce at 918-675-5375.