Purple Heart Recipient Reacts To State Veterans Cemetery Becoming Reality

sioux falls, sd - A state veterans cemetery will soon come to Minnehaha County after Senate Bill 91 received the governor's signature. On Thursday, National Vietnam War Veterans Day,  KELOLAND News brings you reaction from a veteran and Purple Heart recipient who helped craft the legislation. 

69-year-old Ken Teunissen, an Army combat veteran, survived a shrapnel wound for which he received the Purple Heart in February 1970. He still has the shrapnel in his leg. Today he's the commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for North and South Dakota, but that's not all. He's also vice president of the South Dakota Veterans Council, and describes the cemetery as "a long time coming."

A state veterans cemetery will now, finally, become reality.

"It's awesome, it's something that many, many, many people have worked for, have attempted in the past, and now it's going to be a reality," Teunissen said.

Veterans in eastern KELOLAND will now have a final resting place closer to home.

"I think it means that they're going to be laid to rest close to their families, first of all, and second of all, it'll be close for the families to come and visit the final resting place of their loved ones," Teunissen said.

It's unknown exactly where the cemetery will be, but Teunissen says it'll be northeast of where Interstate 229 intersects with Interstate 90, with views of sunsets.

"Not only sunsets, but there's a valley where Slip Up Creek runs down through the valley, so there'll probably be parks and nice area, it'll be awesome," Teunissen said.

Teunissen says groundwork could start this fall, perhaps next spring.

"Veterans today, tomorrow, and the future, will have something that they can be laid to rest in a veterans cemetery with the honor, and prestige, and the hallowed grounds of a veterans cemetery," Teunissen said.

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