MONTGOMERY - The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs will commemorate the beginning of the construction phase of the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort with a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, October 7, 2011. The ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the future site of the cemetery located at Saluda Hill along Ala. Hwy 225 and across from the Blakeley State Park. “This cemetery will provide the final act of honor, dignity and respect that our veterans have earned through their service and sacrifice while defending our nation and guaranteeing its freedom for future generations,” said Clyde Marsh, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs.” The cemetery’s site plans and architectural design were completed in June by Walcott Adams Verneuille Architects of Fairhope. After receiving a $7 million final grant approval and funding authorization from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in August, the state VA awarded the construction contract to White-Spunner Construction, Inc. of Mobile. The first phase of the cemetery’s construction will include roads, traditional in-ground burial sites, in-ground cremation sites, columbarium niches, administration and maintenance facilities, and a committal service shelter. Construction is slated to begin in the fall. The ceremony will include military honors, groundbreaking remarks culminating with the traditional turning of soil to formally begin the cemetery’s construction project. A reception will immediately follow the formal program for visitors and guests in attendance. Media coverage of the groundbreaking is encouraged and ceremony is open to the public. Media point of contact is Sandy Speakman, (334) 242-5077. ####