Written by: LTC (R) Richard R. Hodgson
MANHATTAN, KS — Cadets from Junction City High School traveled to Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday, March 4th to conduct some Spring cleaning of the Kansas Veteran’s Cemetery. While the cemetery staff does an excellent job of maintaining a high state of appearance at the facility, the need for maintenance is constant and volunteers are welcome.
Some of the tasks the Cadets performed were raking, general police call of the grounds and washing every headstone in the cemetery to ensure our nation’s veterans are appropriately honored. At the end of the day, Cadets placed a small American flag at each gravestone.
There was also a direct connection to Junction City JROTC. Two former instructors, Colonel Ken Burgoon, the first Senior Army Instructor, and Sergeant Fort Class John Rosa, the first Army Instructor, who started this program in 1980 are buried there. Both went on to live long, full lives in the community and many here remember them as the great citizens they both were.
Kansas is a very patriotic part of the country and that, combined with the close proximity to Fort Riley means there are many, many veterans who live out their lives here. The cemetery is relatively new, just 20 years or so, and in that short time, approximately 1300 veterans have been laid to rest there. The cemetery quickly established a reputation for being one of the best in the country having won several national awards from the Veteran’s Administration over the years for excellence. It is definitely a point of pride for the Fort Riley/Junction City/Manhattan community.
Mr. Bryan Nelson, Cemetery Director was very pleased with the Cadet’s work; “Please let them all know I appreciate their efforts and the flags look amazing!” Said Nelson.