Arlington National Cemetery serves as sacred ground for our country’s fallen wartime heroes. For the friends and family members of these brave men and women, being able to attend to a gravesite, particularly on special anniversaries or holidays, is very important to preserving their living memories. However, according to the Army, at least 200 remains in Arlington National Cemetery have bee misidentified or misplaced.
Defense officials announced on Thursday that the Army has forced out the cemetery’s two civilian leaders and appointed new management to prevent future problems. In addition, the Army plans to conduct a more thorough investigation of the questioned gravesites under the new management. Overall, Army Secretary John McHugh told a Pentagon press conference that the first investigation revealed 211 graves where there were problems of misidentification or improper record keeping.
More than 300,000 people are buried at Arlington National Cemetery including service members from the Civil War as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the Army plans to rectify the mixed-up gravesites, it is sad to see that these burial sites will have to be disturbed to resolve an originally preventable situation.