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Mountain Home National Cemetery arch nearing completion

Becky Campbell • Apr 24, 2019 at 10:58 PM

The sun was shining and a light breeze rustled through the pine trees at the corner of Veterans Way and West Main Street Wednesday as a work crew made steady progress on an archway for the Mountain Home National Cemetery.

The project, announced in July 2018, will visually tie the cemetery and the Johnson City/Washington County Veterans Memorial, which sits diagonally across from the cemetery. The Washington County/Johnson City Veterans Memorial entrance has a metal arch that says “Freedom Is Not Free.”

The cemetery archway will have the same design, but it will say, “Where Heroes Rest.”

Work on the project, which will consist of brick columns, a large gate and matching arched sign, began in late January. While the weather has played some part in the work schedule, it hasn’t delayed the project.

The work crew on hand Wednesday included Jon Bass, co-owner of the veteran-owned company The Moeller Group, and employees from Minnesota, which included a father, his two sons and a longtime family friend. The project architect, Homayoun Kazemipour, who works for the National Cemetery Association, was also at the site Wednesday checking the status of the work.

Bill Hartley, interim director of the cemetery, said the project is on target for completion by May 6, and as long as everything goes according to plans there will be a dedication ceremony May 18. That, of course, is subject to change depending on how the weather affects the rest of construction.

Bass and his crew placed the final caps on the brick columns by mid-afternoon Wednesday and planned to immediately start laying the pavers that will enhance the area in front of the entrance. And while the gate will be a working gate, it won’t be used as an actual entrance to the Historic Cemetery. Visitors will still enter the Historic Cemetery at the gated entrance on the VA campus.

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