Headstone content an issue at Arlington

Oct. 12, 2010 at 5:37 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Some U.S. families who have lost relatives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are unhappy Arlington National Cemetery puts the operation names on headstones.

One problem is that Operation Enduring Freedom, the name the Bush administration selected for the war in Afghanistan, does not use the name of the country involved, The Washington Post reported Monday. Now the Obama administration has renamed Operation Iraqi Freedom, calling it Operation New Dawn.

Some families also find the name New Dawn hard to take.

"It's not a new dawn; we lost a son," said Oscar Aviles, father of Andrew Aviles, a Marine lance corporal killed in Iraq in 2003. "It's just a lot of pain and anguish."

In the past, Arlington, which is operated by the U.S. Army, has put the name of the war a soldier served in on the headstone. Other military cemeteries, operated by Veterans Affairs, draft the material on the headstone using Iraq or Afghanistan and submit it to the family, adding an operation name on request.

Rose Jenkins, whose son Philip was killed Sept. 7 in Iraq, said she is not that concerned.

"If that's what they're calling it, then that's what it has to be," she told the Post. "I support my son, and that's all that matters."

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