On this traditional Memorial Day, I wanted to take a moment to update you on our work to protect the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery — a monument that symbolizes like no other — the significance of this day.
Last fall, thousands of Members and Friends of the National Trust for Historic Preservation rallied to win a reprieve for the Tomb. You may recall that the Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetary had announced plans to replace the original Tomb with a replica because of non structural cracks in the marble.
Working closely with our partners, we launched a campaign to educate Members of Congress about the threat to the Tomb, including an online alert that generated more than 4,000 emails to the Superintendent and Congress. Thanks in no small part to that effort on January 29th the President signed the Defense Authorization Bill which included language requiring the Department of the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to produce a written report outlining ALL the options for the Tomb — including repair. That report is due to Congress at the end of July.
In March, we cautioned the Army and DVA that it is imperative that the personnel tasked with conducting the new study of the Tomb Monument be highly experienced specialists in the conservation of marble.
But sadly, it is clear that the Army and the DVA have no intention of conducting a new study with thoughtful analysis, but are instead planning on simply repackaging old reports designed to buttress arguments to replace the Tomb.
We cannot let this come to pass. We must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to keep the pressure on the Army, the DVA, and the Superintendent of the Arlington National Cemetery to seriously study options for repairing the authentic Tomb of the Unknowns — the only national monument to soldiers who fought in World War I.
Please support our efforts today by making a tax-deductible gift to our Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Campaign. Your donation will be used to support our public awareness efforts and field work. Click here to make your donation.
Thank you for your support of our Campaign to Save the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Vice President, Membership
National Trust for Historic Preservation