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Friday, April 24, 2009

State veterans cemetery legislation close to passage

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is one step closer to providing a new benefit to Alabama’s veterans –- a state owned and operated veterans cemetery.

This week the House unanimously passed HB 301, sponsored by Rep. Randy Davis of Daphne.

The Senate’s version of the state veterans cemetery bill, SB 389, carried by Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma, is ready for a floor vote.


The ADVA needs to the authority, that would be granted in the bill, to move forward with plans to establish Alabama's first state veterans cemetery.


The authority would also allow the state VA to obtain a federal grant from the National Cemetery Administration -- about $7.6 million for the construction of the cemetery. The grant covers all construction costs and the state would only be tasked with funding the operations and maintenance of the cemetery.


Land has already been identified for the cemetery in south Alabama, in Baldwin County, near Fort Blakeley State Park. The proposed cemetery would serve the veteran population in that area -- an estimated 71,000 -- for the next two decades.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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