American Legion Continues Push For Changes At Arlington Cemetery | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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American Legion Continues Push For Changes At Arlington Cemetery

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Hundreds of volunteers are heading to Arlington Cemetery today to do supplemental landscaping work to beautify the military burial ground.
Pete Thompson
Hundreds of volunteers are heading to Arlington Cemetery today to do supplemental landscaping work to beautify the military burial ground.

The remains of 12 servicemen missing since WWII will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery this morning.

Arlington National Cemetery has performed thousands of military burials and ceremonies flawlessly in the past twelve months.

But Jacob Gadd, a deputy director at the American Legion, says the only way to recover from years of mislabeled graves and improperly handled remains is for the U.S. Army to hand over management of the cemetery to the National Cemeteries Administration, which is part of the Department of Veteran's Affairs.

"The National Cemetery Administration manages 131 cemeteries, and that's their primary mission. The army's primary mission is force readiness," Gadd says.

The cemetery has come under fire in the past year for discrepancies at the burial site, and the U.S. Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation into some of those issues in June.

Kathryn Condon, executive director of the National Cemeteries program, is part of the transition leadership team that's managed the cemetery for the past year.

Gadd says the Legion is pleased with the team's work, but he adds many veterans are skeptical that all the problems have been solved.

"I think at this point we're still in that transition phase," he says. "It's too early to say whether we might find some more things -- we certainly may."

No one in cemetery leadership was available to comment at press time.

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