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New veterans cemetery dedicated near Goldsboro

Posted November 9, 2015

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— Military, state and local officials gathered Monday to dedicate the Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery outside Goldsboro.

The state's fourth veterans cemetery – the others are in Black Mountain, Jacksonville and Spring Lake – is expected to start offering military burials to North Carolina’s honorably discharged veterans, as well as funerals for their spouse and dependents early next year.

"Out of all of the combat tours that I served and all of the friends that I saw that got killed and all veterans I know that passed, it's nice to have a place here at home where the families can come and talk to them and have peace with them," said Luther Dawson, a Wayne County native and Army veteran who fought in Vietnam.

A $5.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs funded construction of the cemetery, but the local community had to purchase the land for it near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Local officials asked former Wayne County Commissioner and retired Air Force Col. Wilbur Anderson to put the deal together.

"The commission asked me to go to Washington and asked me to brief the secretary of veterans affairs on the proposal," Anderson said. "They said at the time this is one of the best presentations they ever had, so they said, 'I think we'll get you one.'"

The empty field features more than 1,800 underground concrete vaults for the caskets that will be buried at the cemetery. The vaults have already been paid for, which will save veterans' families hundreds of dollars in burial expenses, officials said.

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