COLORADO SPRINGS -- The cremated remains of four Colorado veterans were laid to rest Thursday. And these heroes will forever hold a special place in history. They're the very first men buried at the nation's newest national cemetery, Pike's Peak National Cemetery.
In the shadow of Colorado's most famous mountain, the four grave markers rise up out of the prairie. Charles Joyner served in the Air Force for nearly 30 years. James Grant served in the Army. Joseph Romero was a Navy veteran, and Kurt Krause served in the Marines.
The cemetery has been in the works for years, to relieve Denver's Fort Logan National Cemetery, which will reach capacity in the next few decades.
Construction on the 400-acre Pike's Peak National Cemetery is still ongoing, and will be for the next year or so. When complete, it will be the final resting place for 200,000 veterans and their spouses. That's an entire century's worth of Colorado heroes.
"We've waited four and a half years," said Shirley Joyner, widow of the Air Force veteran interred today. Her husband died in 2014 after a long illness. And he's the one who decided his final resting place.
"It was his wish. We knew that there was going to be a cemetery here sometime. And he made his own arrangements, and we fulfilled them, and today it's happened," Shirley said.
Kurt Krause passed away in January 2017 after a long battle with cancer.
"They told us then that there was going to be a cemetery going in, so we waited. We've been waiting for it," said Charlotte Krause, his widow.
Now the wait is over, for this new and reverent shrine honoring the few who sacrificed for the many,
"We all miss him very very much, but we feel good about him being here," Shirley Joyner said.