An evening service is planned for later today at the Alton National Cemetery. More than 500 veterans and their family members are buried at the site, located on Pearl Street, just north of Broadway. The cemetery connects to the Alton City Cemetery and also the Lovejoy Monument that overlooks the city. Tonight's event begins at 6:30 and should last about an hour.
Organizer Richard Baird says this is the 7th year for the service just before sunset, and it's important for people to remember we have a National Cemetery in Alton. When he stepped up 8 years ago to inquire about the condition of the location, he found it was grown over with weeds although the federal government promoted it as something else:
Baird says the Veteran's Administration eventually stepped up to restore the cemetery and is proud of what it's become. Students from Alton High School, East Alton Middle School, and Alton Middle School will be participating this evening, as well as members of the Alton VFW Post 1308, the Alton Fire Department, and other local veterans will also be taking part. The event should last about 45 minutes to an hour. There is limited seating, so participants are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs.