Horton cemetery is a privilege for us

Published 4:58 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Those of us who live in the Suffolk area are very fortunate to have a site that holds so much American history right here in our midst.

The Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery may not be a national veterans’ cemetery like Arlington, but it is a national treasure, as is each and every one of the people buried there.

The people who are buried there are veterans and their spouses and, in some cases, children — all people who sacrificed much for our country and the freedoms we hold dear.

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This state veterans’ cemetery, lovingly and expertly cared for by the people who work there, including director Dan Kemano, is here thanks to the advocacy of Albert G. Horton Jr. himself, whose grave is closest to the administration building in the cemetery.

The cemetery has been well supported over the years by thousands of area residents, including those who have donated to the Horton Wreath Society to place wreaths on the graves at Christmas time; those who have come out and volunteered to place wreaths; those who have placed flags for Memorial Day and Veterans Day; those who have attended ceremonies there for such occasions; and those who have supported their family members and friends who are buried there or who know someone buried there.

The cemetery is currently undertaking another expansion, which will allow thousands more of our veterans and their spouses to receive the benefit they earned and to have it happen close to home. So many of our veterans remain here after they exit the military.

The Hampton Roads area, unlike the vast majority of our country, is privileged to be only three or four hours’ drive away from the area of our nation’s capital and therefore more able to see the sites and partake in activities there. Hardly can a Hampton Roads native be found who didn’t take a field trip to Washington, D.C., as a child, and many of them probably visited Arlington National Cemetery.

As awe-striking as that hallowed ground is, though, we have a state veterans’ cemetery of just as high quality and natural beauty right here in Suffolk. If you’ve never been there, do yourself a favor and go sometime soon to pay your respects to the thousands buried there. You’re guaranteed to leave with a new level of reverence for the sacrifices made by our military.