MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — Hundreds of people came out to the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery Wednesday to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Throughout the ceremony, there were several keynote speakers including Senator Kevin Cramer.

He says Wednesday was about celebrating the past 30 years of accomplishments, but also celebrating the future.

“Looking forward to how this cemetery will be of service to the men and women that will be of service to us,” said Cramer.

30 years ago, there were just a few graves on this plot of land. It’s now the last resting place for over 11,000 veterans.

“Something like this can only happen with the strong dedication of a few leaders and a whole bunch of
volunteers who just care a lot,” said Cramer.

Al Dohrmann, Adjutant General of the North Dakota National Guard, says the goal is to make the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery a place to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“Our goal is to make this the premier or a premier state veteran cemetery,” said Dohrmann. “And you talk to people who have been here I think we are achieving that vision.”

Senator Cramer says we live in a free country, but it comes at a cost. And sometimes we forget that.

“Forgive us when we don’t thank you enough,” said Cramer. “Because the reason we don’t think about the one sacrifice you are making or willing to make is because we take for granted how easy our lives are.”

He says this cemetery is here to remind people of the cost of freedom over the years.

Also at the ceremony, Former Adjutant General Alexander MacDonald was honored with a plaque to recognize his role in making the cemetery a reality.