Iowa Is Home To One of The Oldest National Cemeteries [PHOTOS]
There are very few places on earth that can rival the solemn beauty of Arlington National Cemetery. But a national cemetery right here in Iowa comes pretty close. The Keokuk National Cemetery is one of the oldest in the country and features soldiers from conflicts dating back as far as the Civil War.
According to NPS.gov, the cemetery can be found just to the west of Keokuk, Iowa. The cemetery is divided into two sections. The older western section features burials dating back to the Civil War, while the eastern section features burials from the late 20th century. Soldiers from the Civil War were buried in the cemetery up until 1866 when the city of Keokuk donated the soldiers' section to the Federal Government, creating the Keokuk National Cemetery.
The first markers in the cemetery were simple, upright, wooden markers. Those were eventually replaced by markers made out of marble. One of the largest monuments is that of the Unknown Soldiers. NPS.org notes that the Women of Keokuk dedicated the statue in 1912. The monument features a soldier standing at parade rest. It honors the 48 unknown soldiers who are buried in the cemetery.
Despite its long and rich history, the Keokuk National Cemetery remains open to new internments to this day. According to the VA, burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met active duty requirements and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, and minor dependent children may also be eligible for burial.