Bell tower dedicated at Jacksonville National Cemetery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Friday afternoon, a veteran was buried at the Jacksonville National Cemetery for the 6,510th time.

The cemetery has now been open for just four years.

Saturday, after three long years of planning and raising funds, a plaque was unveiled to dedicate the erection of a 40-foot carillon tower equipped to play the theme songs of all military branches and more than 2,000 other songs.

"It just adds a new dimension, it is peaceful, it is quiet, yet to hear these bells ring it just makes you feel proud to be an American," Congressman Ander Crenshaw said.

Music will play during funeral processions, and bells will toll during the day.

American Veterans, a volunteer-led organization formed by World War II veterans of the United States, raised $50,000 to add the bell tower to honor their fellow veterans who died in service. National AMVETS commander John Mitchell was on hand for the dedication.

"To pay the ultimate sacrifice for your country, there is now way to describe the feeling when you hear those bells, come and see this beautiful cemetery, it gets you deep inside your soul," Mitchell said.

Patty Piening attended the dedication and says it is difficult to explain in words what the addition of this bell tower means to this Jacksonville national cemetery.

"And it just brings comfort, I feel it brings comfort to the families," Piening said.

The veterans buried at this cemetery were remembered once again on this day.

"They are the true greatness of America, may God bless them and God continue to bless our great country," Crenshaw said to the crowd.

Then the people in attendance watched the firing of volleys, and the playing of taps on the new carillon.

The next project under consideration at the cemetery will be a Veterans Education Center.

Money for that is being raised by the Rotary Club and congressman Crenshaw is working in Congress to obtain funds.

It could be open within three years.


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