Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Thursday ordered two Arlington cemetery officials removed from their jobs after a lengthy investigation concluded problems at perhaps the most famous burial place in the United States.
About 4 million people a year visit the site, which overlooks Washington to the east and has the Tomb of the Unknowns and the gravesites of U.S. President John Kennedy and his brothers Robert and Ted. There are 25-30 burials a day at the site with remains of veterans of conflicts from World War II through the Afghan war being interred. More than 300,000 graves are on the cemetery grounds since the first burials in 1864.
The Army report, released Thursday, alleged poor recordkeeping led to several gravesites to be improperly marked -- and sometimes not marked at all. The Arlington superintendent and his deputy had their authority removed.
McHugh established the new position of executive director of the Army National Cemeteries Program to help correct issues at Arlington.
"The Army owes better," McHugh said. "I'm unable to explain the past but I can promise this about the future. … "We owe no less to our departed heroes, no less to the loved ones of this nation who, when the call was sounded, stepped forward to serve. The better tomorrows for Arlington National Cemetery begin today."
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