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Gravestones Found In Stream Bed At Arlington Cemetery

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Most of the stones appear to have been stacked purposely to shore up the banks of the stream, but cemetery administrators are still investigating where the headstones originated.
Jonathan Wilson
Most of the stones appear to have been stacked purposely to shore up the banks of the stream, but cemetery administrators are still investigating where the headstones originated.

By Jonathan Wilson

On the heels of an investigation into unmarked graves and other mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery, the discovery of old headstones lining the banks of a stream on burial ground means scrutiny on the cemetery will continue.

The stones lie in a stream in the northwest corner of the cemetery, near a maintenance yard, off the beaten path for most visitors.

Cemetery administrators were alerted to their location by a Washington Post reporter who discovered them on Wednesday.

Kaitlin Horst, a spokesperson for the cemetery, says it is still unclear how the stones got there or to whom they belong.

A circular marking on some of the stones suggest they are decades old.

"The VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] stopped using that design in the 1988-1989 timeframe," says Horst.

Most of the stones, and there are dozens, appear to have been stacked in an attempt to shore up stream banks.

That means it will take serious work to remove them from the ground and dispose of them in accordance with current cemetery policy.

"It is a creek bed," Horst says. "There could be environmental concerns that need to be taken into account."

She says the cemetery will be consulting the Army Corps of Engineers on the removal process.

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