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NWA LETTERS

Group continues efforts

to grow national cemetery

The approaching Memorial Day celebrations have additional meaning this year for the Northwest Arkansas community. The Fayetteville National Cemetery will be 150 years old just a month later.

On July 17, 1862, Congress enacted legislation that authorized President Abraham Lincoln to purchase “cemetery grounds” to be used as national cemeteries “for soldiers who shall have died in the service of the country.” National cemeteries were established following an act of Congress on Feb. 22, 1867, and put under the jurisdiction of the War Department.

The War Department purchased four parcels of land in Fayetteville totaling 6.009 acres from Stephen K. Stone, merchant, on May 20, 1867, and David Walker, lawyer and judge, on June 14, 1867. This land constituted the Fayetteville National Cemetery which opened July 2, 1867. The cemetery has been placed on the National registry of Historic Places and the Civil War Discovery Trail. It has also been declared a national shrine.

The present day size of Fayetteville National Cemetery is nearly 15 acres and had 9,830 interments as of April 2017. The increase in size has come about from many donations of land by the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. beginning on Aug. 1, 1989. Most recently another 2.3 acres of land was donated on Nov. 9, 2013. Presently, the corporation has 2.4 acres ready for donation to the cemetery pending completion of paperwork by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This donation will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the cemetery’s establishment.

The corporation is the only organization in the United States buying land to give a national cemetery. The Fayetteville National Cemetery was down to a handful of grave sites for burials in 1989 when the RNCIC made its first land donation. The cemetery would otherwise have closed for burials within weeks. As it was, burials were made on the new land before all the paperwork was finalized. It was the first increase in land to the cemetery since its opening in 1867.

A small group of dedicated individuals can make a huge difference in our great country. Never very large, the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. is now directed by a 13-member board of directors and has a total membership of 30. My daughter and I are proud to be a part of this wonderful organization. which has made a huge and positive impact on the lives of the veterans and their families in our area.

More information is available at http://RNCIC.com.

JAKE LAMKINS

Fayetteville

Removing statues won’t

change nation’s history

It both saddens and irritates me to see monuments, statues, etc. of Civil War generals, et al., being torn down (sometimes in the middle of the night, the cowards) so that some folks won’t be offended.

While I’m not originally from the South and I don’t have any relatives who fought in the Civil War, I believe we should recognize this important event in our country’s history. Tearing down these monuments and statues does not make history go away. Frankly, I see it as nothing more than another example of political correctness gone amok.

What’s next, we remove all references to the Civil War from our history books?

PETE RATHMELL

Garfield

letters@nwadg.com

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