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Tenn. lawmakers to discuss bill providing more flexibility for veteran funerals

Tennessee State Capitol Dome.jpeg
Posted at 11:38 AM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 12:38:39-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — State legislators in both the House and Senate will be discussing the Major Trevor Joseph Act, a bill that would directly impact veterans and their families in the Volunteer State.

Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, shared the story of Maj. Trevor Joseph, his career, his accomplishments and ultimately his death. He spoke about how Joseph couldn't be buried on a weekend, which is often the easiest time for anyone to travel and pay their respects.

This bill is inspired by Joseph's story and if passed, requires the Department of Veteran Services to provide a funeral and burial at a state veterans cemetery on any day the family requests. The only catch is the family must provide a 72-hour notice.

Vaughan spoke of Joseph's 33-year-old wife trying to plan this funeral, taking into account his friends from base in Fort Polk, Louisiana, family from around the country and other friends - but not being able to hold the funeral on a day arguably most flexible for everyone.

"Imagine you're his 33-year-old wife, your husband passes away. Wrecks your work, you're trying to do what's right," Vaughan said. "Imagine you make arrangements with the State of Tennessee veterans cemetery and they say, 'well we'll be happy to enter your loved one, as long as it's Monday through Friday, 8 to 5."

The bill was pushed through from subcommittee meetings to full committee with no one verbally opposing the bill.