Honoring vets: Emotional family members visit the gravesites of their loved ones

Local News

MADISON, Tenn. (WKRN) — Families took advantage of today’s sunshine to remember their loved ones who served in the armed forces.

Nashville National Cemetery is home to over 34,000 gravesites.

For over a century, people have been going there to pay their respects.

On the eve of Veteran’s Day, Paul Darden could be seen making his rounds. It’s something this veteran himself does often.

“I usually have a little broom,” he said.

Darden’s brother who served in World War II has a grave at the Nashville National Cemetery.

After visiting his late veteran father and others in Spring Hill, he came here.

“It makes me feel good to come here ya know I feel like I’m slighting them by not doing what I outta do yea, that’s just me,” said Darden.

Kneeling before his brother’s gravesite, he talked to him like no one else is around.

“I always tell him, I miss him, I do.”

As the sun shed light and warmth onto these vet’s tombstones, Darden wasn’t the only one taking advantage of today’s weather the day before Veteran’s Day.

Betsy Kelly has been paying her respects for the past 30 years.

“It’s just a special thing to me that I do. They don’t know it but I know it.”

The ashes of her parents and brother who served buried beneath their stones.

“It’s an honor to them. I come on their birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and like a nut, the anniversary of their death,” said Kelly.

Coming as much as a dozen times a year or more, it’s a feeling that never fails to stir up emotions.

“You sure do miss them when they’re gone,” added Kelly.

As for these two strangers, unaware of each other’s presence, it’s the same act that unites them on this veteran day’s weekend — one of love and respect.

“I love you, buddy, yep I did.”

Darden served in the Korean War. He went to Vanderbilt Medical Center and will be honored at the basketball game tomorrow, along with other veteran alumni.

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