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Group uncovers more veteran graves in the Great Smoky Mountains

Joe Emert said they went from 163 graves to 204 and counting.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Nestled in the ground throughout the Great Smoky Mountains from Tennessee to North Carolina are the graves of some of our nation's heroes.

"Some of the families notified us that their loved one was cremated and scattered in the park," project organizer Joe Emert said. "We're up to 204 now."

The group originally only uncovered a little over 160 graves but since WBIR first met Emert in July, they've found more. 

Emert said several people are involved in the work including Marilyn Childress with Wreaths Across America

"People want their stories told they are always always anxious to talk about their loved ones...especially the ones who've served in the military," he said. 

The time period spans from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam. Each veteran is verified through military records, historic books or other documents showing their military service. 

Now Emert said they have a database where you can search for a your own loved one.

"We aren't going to get everybody a lot of times there's just a rock marking the grave," he added. 

However the work isn't done, the group wants anyone who may have information about a veteran in their family who may be buried in the park to come forward, to ensure their memory lives on.

"We want everybody to know the stories we've lost too many stories as it is, we need to save all we can," Emert said. 

To add a veteran who is buried or whose remains have been scattered in the GSMNP to the list, share photos or to provide support in the development of a biographical sketch, people can contact Don Casada at don.casada@friendsofthebccemetery.org

RELATED: "There's a lot we don't know" | Project aims to uncover veteran graves in the Smoky Mountains