News release from state Department of Veterans Affairs:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder announced an innovative new online pre-registration form which will allow veterans and their families to be pre-approved for burial in the state veterans cemeteries.
Traditionally, funeral directors contact the nearest state veterans cemetery when they receive a request to bury the remains of a veteran or dependent who previously expressed interest in burial at one of the four locations. In many cases, family members are unable to locate the veteran’s discharge papers which must be used to determine eligibility. The process to request and receive the appropriate discharge papers as well as determine eligibility can take several days or weeks.
“Our goal is to do all we can to assist and support veterans and their families,” Haslam said. “This online resource is a proactive and efficient way to offer them assistance before they face a crisis situation when delays can add to the trauma of loss.”
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder solemnly announce the body of Private First Class Glenn Schoenmann will finally be laid to rest after 62 years.
Schoenmann was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in the United States Army when he was involved in the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on November 28, 1950. The Grundy County native reportedly died as a Prisoner of War on December 29, 1950. Family members say Schoenmann’s remains were recovered in 2004, but the identification process was finalized in December, 2012.
Schoenmann was born in Palmer, Tennessee, but grew up in Tracy City where he attended James Shook School and worked on the Werner Farm with his family. Schoenmann was 20-years old when he was killed.
“The Schoenmann family has waited 62 years to give Glenn a proper burial, and we join them in remembering his service and sacrifice,” Haslam said. “As a state we mourn the loss of PFC Schoenmann, but we are grateful for his return to his home and family.”
“PFC Schoenmann’s courage and bravery to serve his country will be recognized and remembered by his fellow Tennesseans,” Grinder said. “The closure for the Schoenmann family is continued proof we should never give up until all of our missing in action and prisoner of war service members have been brought home.”
The body of PFC Schoenmann will arrive at the Nashville International Airport at 12:45 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, January 10, 2013. Visitation will be Friday, January 11 from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. (CST) at Layne Funeral Home in Palmer. Visitation will resume at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday January 12 at Grundy County High School in Coalmont. Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m. at Grundy County High School with the burial to follow at the Brown’s Chapel Cemetery in Palmer. In case of inclement weather, all services will be held at Layne Funeral Home in Palmer.
Schoenmann is survived by his sister Edna Kilgore of Monteagle, Tennessee, brothers Ernest Schoenmann of Creave Coure, Illinois, Raymond Schoenmann of Tracy City, Tennessee and Carl Schoenmann of Winchester, Tennessee.
“It just means a lot that he will be buried in the same cemetery with our mother, father and grandparents,” Raymond Schoenmann said. “It’s finally uniting the family back together.”
The Cemetery Task Force of the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance has been studying Tennessee’s burial laws and has decided they should be changed, according to the News Sentinel.
“There’s not a clear process for dealing with cemeteries,” said (archaeologist Patrick) Garrow, who was involved in revising Georgia’s cemetery laws.
With help from Garrow, the task force came up with three main goals to improve the preservation of cemeteries and the amount of information stored about each one.
The first goal is to address cemetery relocations.
“Right now in Tennessee, it’s easy for a property owner or developer to move them,” said Garlington.
According to ETPA, state laws offer very little guidance for properly moving cemeteries.
“They eventually become abandoned cemeteries,” Garrow said, “Families move on, and graves are forgotten.”
The second goal is to control the amount of new cemeteries and private burial plots created. Many counties allow citizens to bury loved ones on family land.
“It’s nearly impossible to keep up with it. We believe that there should be a statewide database of cemeteries,” said Garlington, “We can’t save or preserve places until we know what’s out there.
The last goal the task force has decided upon is establishment of a database of names and locations for the public to access. The information would help not only family but researchers and preservation groups.
“Ultimately our goal is to update the state burial law. This is the beginning of that process,” Garlington said.