As Nashville National Cemetery runs out of space, state says they have plenty of room for veterans

Nashville National Cemetery
Posted at 4:49 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 20:50:44-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There's a feeling of peace any time Tom Freeman pays his respects in the Nashville National Cemetery.

"It’s an honor that’s earned by serving your country and by receiving an honorable discharge," said Freeman.

But even though he's a veteran, it's an honor he'll likely never receive. At least not here.

"There’s not enough burial space left here for those who want to be interned," said Freeman.

Nashville National Cemetery isn't able to expand because they're landlocked, but the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services says they have plenty of room out at their state cemeteries.

"We have a lot of room for expansion, a lot of room for future capacity," said TDVS Commissioner Tommy Baker.

Baker said the state veterans cemetery on McCrory Lane has another 60 acres of plots available. In 2023, a new state veterans cemetery will open up in White County, fulfilling a vision of the federal government.

"Have a national or a state veterans cemetery within 75 miles of each veteran’s in the state home of record," said Baker.

Even though they aren't nationally run cemeteries, Baker assured NewsChannel 5 that the state cemeteries are maintained at national standards.

"There’s really no difference in terms of how they’re maintained or how they function," Baker said.

Tom Freeman said a state veterans cemetery works for him and his family, but for some veterans, they want the honor of being in a national cemetery. So he's calling on state and federal leaders to explore ways to establish another in Middle Tennessee.

"These gentlemen and these ladies that have served do deserve their right from service to be buried in a national cemetery and a state cemetery," said Freeman.

Veterans can go ahead and pre-register their plots through the State of Tennessee. There are three ways to do so.

1) Go to the state's website and pre-register online.
2) Go in person to a state cemetery and fill out a form in-person.
3) Mail in a form, found online, to the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services.