Gov. Noem attends groundbreaking ceremony for South Dakota's first state veterans cemetery

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Construction for South Dakota's first state veterans cemetery is underway.

South Dakota is home to more than 72,000 veterans, about 50,000 of them live East River.

The closest national cemetery available to those on the east side of the state is in Sturgis.

The next closest option is in Ft. Snelling, MN., more than 220 miles beyond the state line.

Planning committees have been designing this cemetery for more than a decade.

The city of Sioux Falls donated almost 60 acres of land, allowing their vision to become a reality.

“This cemetery is a tribute to our patriots. It immortalizes the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms, and more than that, it shows our kids and grand kids that sacrifice does not go unnoticed.," South Dakota Gov., Kristi Noem, said.

For veterans, this cemetery is an important part of honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

"We all die two deaths. We die the first time when breath leaves us for the last time, but we only truly die sometime in the future, when no one speaks our name or tells our story. I know that the name will be spoken and the stories will be told of the heroes that came from South Dakota," Under Secretary of Veteran Affairs for Memorial Affairs, Randy Greeves, said.

Current funding for the cemetery will develop nearly 13 acres of land, located just north of the I-229 and I-90 interchange off of Split Up Creek Rd. and 477th Ave.