Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 24, 2013

In remembrance of heroes

Veterans Memorial to be dedicated at Athens City Cemetery on Monday

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The roll call of armed services veterans buried in the Athens City Cemetery for the past century-and-a-half is a long one.

A Veterans Memorial, created in their honor, will be dedicated on Memorial Day Monday, with 5th District Congressman Jeb Hensarling serving as the keynote speaker.  The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. at the cemetery on South Prairieville Street.

“We’re fortunate to have the congressman making the keynote speech and are looking forward to having a big crowd for the dedication,” Cemetery Manager of Construction and Maintenance Bob McDonald said.

McDonald estimates that there are 470 names chiseled on the granite slab at the display. In time, there could be more.

“It’s an ongoing thing,” McDonald said. “As future veterans are buried in the cemetery, their names will be added to the memorial.”

The memorial cost $48,000, and was paid for through the efforts of the Friends of the Cemetery and other grants and donations.

“We think this monument is very important for the cemetery and the community,” McDonald said. “It recognizes all veterans, going all the way back to the Cherokee War, who are buried in the Athens Cemetery.”

The Cherokee War took place in 1839. That was followed by the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War,  Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and other fields of operation. The Athens City Cemetery was already three years old when the Civil War started in 1861. There are 56 Confederate servicemen and one Union soldier interred there. World War II, which had more Henderson County soldiers in the armed services, accounts for most of the names on the list.

There will be coffee, tea, donuts and breakfast rolls for those who attend, McDonald said.