Future looks grim for cemetery
It's sad when a graveyard dies. You wouldn't think so, but it is. "But how does a graveyard die?' you ask. It dies when it runs out of room. And "how is that sad?" you might inquire further. It's sad because it's happening right now to our beloved Fayetteville National Cemetery, the final resting place for over 7,000 servicemen and women. Veterans who fought and died in the Civil War are buried there. Servicemen and women who'll fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan will be buried there. And, of course, veterans from all the wars in between have been laid to rest there. It's sad to think of the day when the cemetery has to start turning away those whose last wish was to lie for all eternity alongside their compatriots, their brethren. Who will be the last, I wonder. What will be his or her name?
Sadly, this is the fate of the Fayetteville National Cemetery unless it can procure more land. One of only three in the state, the FNC is already smaller than the other two in terms of size and burial capacity. The projected year during which our veteran's cemetery will reach full capacity, if no more land is secured, is 2023. Fourteen years, folks. Fourteen short years and we'll know their name.
But it doesn't have to happen this way, citizens of Northwest Arkansas. We have one chance, but one chance only, to save this cemetery. At present, eight acres of land adjacent to the east of the cemetery, where the "sale barn" sits now, has come up for sale, and the owner is on the verge of selling it to an out-of-state developer who intends to build more of the last thing Fayetteville needs - apartment buildings. The owner has stated that he would like to see the cemetery have the land, but they haven't made him an offer.
One might assume that all the cemetery has to do is ask the federal government for the money. One would be wrong. Under the responsibility of the Department of Veterans Affairs, veteran's cemeteries can only accept land through donations. That's where you come in, citizens of Northwest Arkansas. I would venture to guess that almost everyone reading this letter is either a veteran, is related to a veteran, or knows a veteran, and understands how important this is, and should be, to veterans. It's time to spread the word. And you must move fast. A viable solution as to how the land can be purchased must be underway before the next City Council meeting, or the aldermen might vote in favor of the rezoning, effectively killing the cemetery.
The property owner has yet to reveal his asking price, instead requiring the cemetery to "make an offer." If someone out there, or a consortium of individuals out there, would step up and make that offer, then there's hope for survival of the Fayetteville National Cemetery. Otherwise, it will die.
Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation
Attn: Sue Graham, Treasurer
P.O. Box 4221
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72702
Please print out this page and fill in the information below. Then mail the form along with your donation to the address above. Checks may be made out to the RNCIC.
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