The groundbreaking ceremony for a proposed veterans cemetery to be located in the Annaville area has been given an official date.

Veterans and the general public are being invited to the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery, which will be held on June 30, beginning at 11 a.m. The cemetery will be located off Carbon Plant Road, at 10100 Interstate Highway 37.

"I invite the entire Coastal Bend veterans' community to join us as we start to work to turn this donated land into hallowed grounds," said Jerry Patterson, chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board. "It will be a lasting memorial to the men and women who serve our nation. We pledge to keep it immaculate, as befits a place of honor."

Flint Hills resources donated the land for the cemetery to the county last year, which then presented it to the state soon after. Planning and design work on the site is under way, with construction expected to take about 18 months.

Construction of State Veterans Cemeteries is funded entirely by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Everyone is really looking forward to it," said Precinct 2 Nueces County Commissioner Betty Jean Longoria. "It's been a lot of hard work over the years, and we're all just really excited and anxious about this date we're hearing about."

There are currently State Veterans Cemeteries in Killeen, Mission and Abilene. In addition, there are four U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs national cemeteries in Texas, located in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and El Paso.

According to figures from the Texas General Land Office, approximately 600,000 of Texas' 1.7 million veterans are 65 or older, with no known plans for additional cemeteries in the state in place.

"There have been so many people to work closely together to make this happen," said County Judge Loyd Neal. "This really is a wonderful reward for the dedicated service of so many in this region of South Texas. This area has a great history of stepping up when the call for service is brought about. It's time for us to have something like this for those families."

The Texas Veterans Land Board will own and operate the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery under VA guidelines, with continued coordination of VA benefits available to veterans upon death.