Veterans buried in Great Smoky Mountains honored with wreaths this holiday season

Over 200 veteran graves have been identified in the Great Smoky Mountains
Published: Dec. 20, 2020 at 4:52 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -On Sunday, Volunteers and Members of the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation honored Veterans that are buried in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Hikers traveled to grave sites searching for veterans one by one.

Joe Emert helped to create the list of soldiers. He says there are more than 200 buried in the park.

“On July fourth we released the list for the first time and made it public. At that time there were 163 veteran graves in the park we identified. Since then there have been 30 additional, and now we’re over 200 graves that have been identified as Veterans in the park,” said Emert.

Marilyn Childress, the president of the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation says this is the first time wreaths were laid for those buried in the park. She’s hoping this will continue to be an annual tradition, along with laying flags for them for Memorial Day.

“Some of these hikes are five and six miles one way, and there might only be one grave there. So it’s awesome that we have these people that are putting their time and effort to make sure these veterans are honored,” shared Childress.

If you believe you have a Veteran ancestor at the park, you can contact the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation or Friends of the Bryson City Cemetery.

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