What if trees were permitted to grow through your grandfather’s headstone and through his coffin?
What if his cemetery encouraged visitors to play POKEMON, the computer “ghost chasing” game, over his grave?
What if his headstone needed to be replaced and the cemetery refused to inscribe it with his identification?
What if the cemetery outright lost his burial site?
These are the actions of the National Park Service at Gettysburg, PA.
Gettysburg is like your community that saw a major Civil War battle fought near it.
At Gettysburg, about 7,100 were killed and 10,800 were missing on both sides. On cemetery Hill, about 3,500 soldiers are buried from the Civil War with over 1,500 unknowns.
Originally thought to be only Union soldiers, over time analysis has proven at least eight Confederates are buried there contrary to the assertions made at the time.
To resolve these issues, several FOIA requests were made in the past six years. The National Park Service, entrusted with the care of these American dead, does not know how many remains exist.
As many as 101 soldiers have been “lost.” Admitting to “so many discrepancies in the paperwork that this is the best we can tell you,” the Park service has lost accountability.
Further, they refuse to correct their desecrations. Trees are growing on top of the headstones. They still promote POKEMON playing over the dead. Lastly 14 soldier’s graves go unmarked.
This treatment is uncaring and disrespectful. NPS simply does not care.
Only the Department of the Interior can be relied on to fix them. The National Park Service is not interested.
These remains may be your great grandfather.
Raffi E. Andonian, Sante Fe, N.M.