Groundbreaking of roadway to Jacksonville National Cemetery

Groundbreaking of roadway to Jacksonville National Cemetery
Digging dirt in front of the roadway are Padraic E. “Pat” Mulvihill, President Elect, Rotary Club of North Jacksonville, Dale Moe, President, Rotary Club North Jacksonville, Steve Spickelmier, Chairman- Support Committee, Tony D’Aleo, President of the Local Chapter 1046 of Vietnam Veterans of America, Alphaeus L. Richburg, Director of The Jacksonville and St. Augustine National Cemeteries and Harrison Conyers, Supervisor for the Military Affairs and Veterans Department, City of Jacksonville.

As families celebrate veterans, they can look forward to improvements to the Jacksonville National Cemetery and the work that’s been done to honor our nation’s fallen right here in North Florida.

A small crowd gathered Friday Nov. 8 for the groundbreaking of a new road, the North Jacksonville Parkway, that will make it much easier to get to and from funerals and other events at the cemetery, which is 526 acres and is home to gravesites of members of the armed forces. Gold Star families are especially honored there – those that lost a family member in the line of duty.

The ceremony took place on an overcast rainy morning, but there was no damper put on festivities as dirt was thrown to honor the project by local dignitaries. Held adjacent to the National Cemetery at the intersection of Lannie and Ethel roads, the small crowd included veterans, green berets, the cemetery director and representatives from the City of Jacksonville’s veteran’s affairs division.

It was nearly a decade in the making.

“The Staff of and our Cemetery Support Committee at the Jacksonville National Cemetery are pleased that the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that after nine years of planning, funding and other activities conducted by various federal, state and local governmental officials and their respective agencies, as well as by a number of veterans and civic organizations, including the Support Committee along with Rotary International, that construction is to take place for the new 3.4-mile two-lane parkway which will lead into our hallowed grounds at the national cemetery,” a Department of Veterans Affairs news release stated.

The $12.8 million project will connect Lannie Road, at the Ethel Road intersection, and Arnold Road. The City of Jacksonville will maintain the road, which is to be 3.4 miles long.

“The Jacksonville National Cemetery honors and remembers all veterans and their families, especially the Gold Star families whose beloved soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines gave their lives in the line of duty, defending our great country to that we can live ours,” according to a Rotary news release. “Accordingly, this new Parkway is being constructed to accommodate the families and the friends of our fallen heroes.”             Workers are expected to complete the parkway sometime during the fall of 2021.

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