CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Families outraged after veteran cemetery turns into movie set.
A group of veterans and their families contacted Channel 2 Action News to express their disapproval of a decision to allow a production company to shoot a movie scene at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.
“The love of your life is put in the ground, and a Hollywood movie is allowed in here to make money off his death, off the other ones deaths? That is almost unforgivable.” said Vietnam War veteran widow Peggy Ray Simpson.
Earlier this week, two sections of the cemetery were taken over by film crews shooting scenes from “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” The film about Iraq War veterans returning home features actors Vin Diesel, Kristin Stewart and Steve Martin.
Air Force veteran Frank Cotter, who has lung disease, said the congestion was so bad he was unable to park close enough to walk to his wife’s gravesite.
“It was like a circus atmosphere at the gravesite,” he said. “This is hallowed ground. I don’t think they should be doing something like that. With all the problems the Veterans Administration is having, this is one more they don’t need.”
The widow of a Korean War veteran said to see the cemetery turned into a movie set was heartbreaking.
“This isn’t Las Vegas, or California. This is a veterans’ cemetery. It’s sacred to us,” Shirley Bryan said.
A spokesman for the Veteran’s Affairs in Washington, D.C. said the decision to allow filming in national cemeteries is made on a “case by case” basis. He added that “dignified” filming brings recognition to the sacrifices and service of veterans.