Veterans prepare for in-person ceremonies following cancellations last year

Published 12:22 am Sunday, November 7, 2021

PORT NECHES — Down a small residential road in “old town,” you’ll find the final resting place for more than 500 veterans and their families.

In fact, Mid and South County are rich with history dating back to the Civil War.

“All of your cemeteries around here have a special section dedicated to veterans, and most of them are full,” said Jorg Kitchen, post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4820. “Oak Bluff and Greenlawn both have a large number of Veterans buried there. Some date back to the 1800s.”

Oak Bluff Memorial Park, located on Block Street in Port Neches, was first established as the Block Family Cemetery, according to the Jefferson County Historical Commission.

Local Historian W.T. Block, for whose family it’s named, is buried there.

Greenlawn Memorial Park is at 3900 TX 347 (Twin City Highway in Groves.) In a report published in the 1970s, the commission called it “Port Arthur’s oldest and largest Perpetual Care cemetery,” meaning a portion of funds brought in by families that buy plots there goes into an account that can only be used for maintaining the grounds.

But this year, honoring all veterans will be much easier as local VFWs and other organizations resume annual programs after being forced to postpone last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re finally able to see all of our Veterans and their families again,” Kitchen said. “We’re not letting our guard down by any means, but it’ll be nice to come together again. It’s nice to see familiar faces and new ones as well.”

VFW Post 4820 will gather at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Golden Triangle Veterans Memorial Park, located at 7626 Gulfway Drive in Port Arthur, for the annual Veterans Day Celebration Program. The event begins at 1 p.m., and will include gumbo and refreshments.

On Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center will host a Veterans Day Observance that will include an invocation by Bishop David Toups. The center is located at 5055 I-10 South.

On Nov. 12 beginning at 6 p.m., there will be a Veterans Day Walk/Parade in Port Neches that starts at the Neches River boat ramp before heading down Merriman to Magnolia.