Tucked away behind gates at the end of a paved road in Cherokee County is the hallowed resting place of thousands of Georgia veterans.
The 775-acre Georgia National Cemetery in Canton opened for burials a month before Memorial Day 2006, and officials have predicted it will serve veterans for the next 50 years.
Referred to by some as Georgia’s “little Arlington”, the nickname is intended to reflect the reverence afforded to Arlington National Cemetery.
It’s quiet at the cemetery, as families visit loved ones’ graves, birds sing, and a lone turkey makes it way through the wooded area between sections of the burial grounds.
Atlanta developer and philanthropist Scott Hudgens donated the property, which is located about halfway between Canton and Cartersville, near the Etowah River.
The cemetery was built with room for 33,000 full casket gravesites on 330 acres, 3,000 in-ground burial sites for cremated remains, and 3,000 columbaria niches for cremated remains, according to the Veterans Administration,
Because of terrain, the remainder of the 775 acres is too steep for burials.
The V.A. does not reserve grave space. Instead, burial arrangements are made after death,
For those visiting, V.A. regulations prohibit the carrying of firearms, either openly or concealed, while on V.A. property except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors.
Georgia National Cemetery is located at 1080 Scott Hudgens Drive, Canton, and is open from sunrise to sunset daily for visitation.