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Arlington saves items left on graves

May 31, 2010 at 12:36 PM

ARLINGTON, Va., May 31 (UPI) -- Arlington National Cemetery is collecting many personal items left on military graves and storing them for posterity, officials in Virginia said.

"I have seen everything from report cards to an Alabama football ticket stub," said Roderick Gainer, a curator with the Center of Military History.

The Army, which runs the cemetery, began collecting the items for the first time last summer. Before then, most personal items were thrown away and no record was kept, CNN reported Monday.

The cemetery is a final resting place for many veterans and the graves of recent soldiers often are marked with items such as cans of beer, teddy bears, tiny bottles of hot sauce, pebbles, cards and poems.

The saved items are stored in plastic bags, which note the date of collection, the soldier's name and the grave number. Perishable items, such as food and flowers, are not saved.

The items someday may become part of a museum exhibit or used as materials for historians to teach about war and the soldiers buried in Arlington.

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