ABILENE, Texas (AP) A crowd of nearly 1,500 people attended a dedication ceremony for the 63-acre Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene.

Officials attending the Monday dedication included Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer.

Located near Lake Fort Phantom Hill, the new site has a capacity for up to 20,000 burials.

Patterson, chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board, says, "Today is not about a sale at the mall or a day off from work. Today is about honoring the soldiers who served our country with dignity and courage and I'm proud to stand among so many fellow Texans who share my commitment to never forget their sacrifice."

A Patterson spokesman says the first burials are expected June 1.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.