CECIL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The sound of taps and the laying of wreaths will once again commemorate Memorial Day at a cemetery in Cecil Township.

The National Cemetery of the Alleghenies performed its first burials six years ago.

Cemetery director Ron Hestdalen, a retired Marine, says more than 4,600 veterans from World War II to the conflicts in the Middle East have been interred on these well-kept hillsides.

“We have to have the grass at a certain height. We have to have the headstones at a certain height and clean and again it all goes back to providing a service – a tribute to our veterans,” Hestdalen explained.

Flags donated by deceased veterans’ families are once again raised along the Avenue of Flags.

“We have 30 burial flags and they’re flown on special occasions such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day and they’ll only increase over time,” he said. “

We’re losing WWII veterans at the rate of nearly a thousand a day.

Whether it’s casket or cremation, there is no charge at all to the veteran or the family. But to call it free? Not really. They’ve already paid the price.

“The veterans who served our country, they did so without asking for anything in return and some of our veterans gave all,” Hestdalen says, “and I think we owe them. We owe them to make sure they’re never forgotten.”

The Memorial Day service will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

More Reports By Dave Crawley
Cemetery of the Alleghenies

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