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Posted: Jun 18 2010, 03:20 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 6-June 09
Arlington Headstones in Creek Bed Catch Officials by Surprise
By Jake Gibson & Steve Centanni
Published June 17, 2010
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ARLINGTON, Va. -- Several discarded headstones recently discovered in a creek bed near Arlington National Cemetery have left Department of Defense officials scrambling for answers.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell called the discovery "alarming and concerning."
Pentagon officials as well as officials at the Arlington National Cemetery had no idea about the existence of the headstones until they were made aware by a Washington Post story.
Patrick Hallinan, the incoming superintendent of the hallowed cemetery, will be meeting with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday. The upcoming meeting will "hopefully provide more clarity to the situation regarding the headstones in the creek bank," Kaitlin Horst, a spokeswoman for Arlington National Cemetery, told Fox News.
Arlington National Cemetery officials think the headstones were placed there to "prevent erosion on the creek bed," after being replaced and discarded, Horst said.
"It's important to the new management to take corrective action but also make sure removing the headstones doesn't destabilize the environment in any way," she said.
One of the headstones in question is inscribed with a cross with a circle around it, a style that was discontinued in the late 1980s, leading officials to believe some of these headstones may have been in that creek bed for several decades.
"This is not part of our current headstone disposal policy," said Horst.
The discovery is another black eye for the nation's most sacred veterans cemetery, which recently was revealed to have mishandled more than 200 graves.