KEITHVILLE, LA (KSLA) - There are 147 National Cemeteries in the U.S. reserved for military members and their spouses. Four of them are in the state of Louisiana, one right here in our own backyard.
Keithville is home to the oldest of Louisiana's four Veterans Cemeteries. Providing a final resting place for more than 2,200 veterans and their spouses.
In fact, some call it a mini Arlington.
"We have a jewel here Northwest Louisiana that rivals Arlington, the only thing Arlington has on us is size and history," expressed NWLA Veterans Cemetery Director, Ken Epperson.
"We have 81 acres total. We have 25 (acres) that's developed, that's enough area that we have developed now for about 7,000 interments. Before we are full, we can do 30,000 interments here."
Epperson is an Army Vet. He has served as the cemetery's director for the last 12 months.
"Each funeral I have an attachment to." Epperson said. "This is not a job, this is a calling that's what makes this special."
Ten years ago, Epperson helped to build this cemetery while serving as a Caddo Parish commissioner. It's development even more personal to his family. He moved his father's remains there, allowing him to fulfill his final wishes by placing him in a Veterans Cemetery.
"This isn't a place of finality, this is a place of honor dignity and integrity upon their initial internment," Epperson said. "We are going to always make sure that we recognize the sacrifices for all of those and their dependents that are interred."
Epperson said that even though it is a cemetery, people do have other options for inclusion at the cemetery — including cremation.
"People are going to cremation now," Epperson said. "We have three options for cremation got them vaulted, we've got them in-ground, and we've got the scatter garden."
Epperson takes great pride ensuring every detail of every service is executed as it is intended.
"You will never be forgotten as long as the United States of America is in existence, this place will be recognized their sacrifices will be recognized and they will never be forgotten."