Picture of Arlington Cemetery:
Picture of Arlington Cemetery and wreaths placed on each grave during the Christmas season.
It looks like Arlington Cemetery is like the Veterans Administration (VA) – it has been mismanaged. The Army investigators at Arlington have found what appear to be over 100 unmarked graves, scores of apparently empty graves marked with headstones, and at least four burial urns that had been inadvertently unearthed and dumped in the cemetery’s “spoils” area where excess grave dirt is stored. The investigators found a “dysfunctional” and chaotic management system, poisoned by bitterness, and hobbled by antiquated record-keeping. I am not surprised. Why does our government continue to function in this manner? This seems to be par for the course for any government facility. In my eyes, it seems that the government is too big and always fails in their obligations. Examples – the VA, the U.S. Post Office, the IRS, the Education Agency, the EPA, and last but not least the current Administration.
In addition there were lost accountability issues of some graves as well as poor record-keeping and other issues. One issue was a series of cemetery blunders including the temporary burial of one veteran’s remains in the occupied grave of another. The cemetery, which surrounds Arlington House, once the home of Civil War General Robert E. Lee, has an average of 27 funerals each workday and about a hundred funerals a week. More than 300,000 people are buried there, including two presidents, scores of generals and admirals, and tens of thousands of men and women who served in the U.S. military and their spouses and children.
On December, 2010, The Army launched the first criminal investigation into the misplacement of remains at Arlington after discovering the cremated remains of eight people dumped in a single grave site. On January 25, 2012, during a congressional hearing on cemetery operations, investigators say that they have found no documentation accounting for $12 million that was missing from the cemetery’s budget. The money was allocated to the cemetery between 2004 and 2010 but apparently was never spent. Was anyone held accountable for this missing money? On January 26, 2012, former Marine Corps reservist Yonathan Melaku was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempting to desecrate graves at Arlington. On June 15, 2014, Arlington observed its 150th anniversary of the cemetery.
Would someone in Congress give the public a status report on what is the status of the Arlington Cemetery investigation and if the reforms have been put into place?