NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder were joined by several federal, state and local officials today as they broke ground on the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), State Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads), State Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), Parkers Crossroads Mayor Kenneth Kizer, Henderson County Mayor Dan Hughes and the Friends of the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads also participated in the special ceremony.
The 132-acre cemetery will be located at 693 Wildersville Road and will serve more than 45,000 veterans and their families within 17 counties in west Tennessee.
“We are to have this dignified final resting place in west Tennessee for those who served our country and their eligible dependents,” Haslam said. “This resource will serve our veterans and their families for decades to come.”
The National Cemetery Administration last month awarded $5,754,802.00 in federal funding for the construction of the cemetery.
“This milestone is cause for celebration for our veterans, their families and our local, state and federal partners that joined us in making this project a high priority to improve how we serve Tennesseans in rural parts of our state,” Grinder said. “This hallowed ground will serve as a pristine final resting place where reverence and reflection will be fostered.”
“The placement of this cemetery in west Tennessee is the realization of years of work,” Blackburn said. “We celebrate the groundbreaking of this project and anticipate completion. This facility will allow families to be closer to home as they endure a time of loss.”
“I count it a true honor to be part of the groundbreaking of the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads,” Fincher said. “These serene grounds will serve as a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice our veterans made for our security and freedom. I hope this site will bring peace to those who knew and loved a veteran, and I hope each time they visit they look back with pride on the courageous contributions these heroes made to our country. We thank God for each and every veteran and pray His blessings upon this sacred space as it becomes their final resting place.”
“Parkers Crossroads is a community dedicated to history, recognizing the service of our veterans and cultivating a patriotic spirit that bonds our citizens,” McDaniel said. “This state veterans cemetery will serve Tennesseans from several miles and counties away and we believe this dignified resource will be a reverent crown jewel for communities across the region.”
“This historic setting will serve as a tribute to veterans of all eras, branches and backgrounds,” Gresham said. “To watch this dream become a reality is truly a privilege of public service and will serve as an enduring symbol of our commitment to our fellow veterans for decades to come.”
The Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads is expected to be completed by spring 2018.
The Tennessee counties within a 75 mile radius of the proposed cemetery include Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lewis, McNairy, Madison, Perry, Wayne, and Weakley counties.
There are currently two state veterans cemeteries in Knoxville, one in Nashville and one in Memphis. Veterans and eligible dependents can pre-register for burial by visiting the State Veterans Cemetery page http://tn.gov/veteran/article/state-veterans-cemeteries. Pre-registrations will open for the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads 90 days before construction is completed.