Could you imagine having to relive the death of your child by having to verify his remains once again because the federal government failed to properly bury many of our fallen heroes in the proper graves!? How outrageous and sad it must have been for this father.
Following is the recollection of one such father, as told by the Uncle, who had to return to Arlington National Cemetery years after his sons burial to verify the body in the grave was his son. There was only one way the father would know for sure, so he had to physically dig him up and check to see if it was his son with the tattoo on his arm. The father was shocked to discover his sons coffin had been opened the night before to place his tags and that only the arm, torso and a leg were in the coffin!!
What a nightmare, thankfully the family can now find comfort in knowing that the body [parts] found were in fact his son, but imagine having to do this and find out for the first time that only body parts were found in the casket. How many more families must go through this? Recent reports have said there may be hundreds of our fallen heroes buried in the wrong graves at Arlington National Cemetery. How could this have happened?? What a disgrace to our country and those families of fallen heroes!
What follows is a guest post from Mike Warner, uncle to a fallen Marine whose body was disinterred to verify that it was buried in the right place.
As they stood at the grave site, a forklift arrives to raise a coffin from the vault that had interred it for nearly four years. Arlington knew at this point that the vault and coffin had been opened. When the family became aware of this action, an unsettling air of distrust settled upon the gathering. The father yells “you lied” as family members hold and calm him. The father already marred and angry by the uncooperative atmosphere and insensitivity of Arlington’s leadership; his grief now changes to anger. Another promise broken! Arlington, to seemingly cover their asses had breached the coffin the night before to ensure the Marine Private and the dog tags were in the assigned plot.
With a rotting corpse and the putrid stench of death permeating the air, a worker removes a dog tag from the coffin lid, wipes off the dirt, and hands it to the father. The forklift begins to raise the coffin; putrid water begins streaming out and those in attendance gasp as the fear of body parts falling from the unstable casket grips them.
Once removed, the coffin is lowered onto the bed of a truck and driven to a maintenance building where the verification process is to be held. In attendance inside were the father, a fellow Marine and friend of the Private who was to verify the remains, a Colonel, a Catholic Priest (arriving later), a Funeral Director, and some cemetery workers.
His adrenalin already maxed and because of Arlington’s ineptness, the father instinctively jumps onto the truck in his dress clothes despite the rancid odor. The father begins digging through the water soaked; stench filled rotting dismembered remains of his son, in search of the severed arm with a tattoo on it. Meanwhile the Funeral Director is standing to the side, gagging. The father looks at the Funeral Director and tells him, “Get over here and do your job!”
Arlington’s assistance during this time consisted of providing him with latex gloves. The father removes his rancid dress gloves used in digging through the soupy carnage and discards them in the trash. He also removes his jacket, hat and sunglasses, and continues to search for the missing arm. This arm with the tattoo would positively confirm that the unrecognizable severely decomposed corpse was his son’s. The father still searching as he inhales the pungent stench of rotting flesh discovers for the first time since his son’s death, that only a torso, arm, and leg were there.
Finally, after frantically searching the carnage, the arm is found under the torso with the tattoo mostly intact. The father in a gesture of love carefully and gently wipes away the dirt. He verifies his son. The veil of doubt is lifted. His son now placed in a new casket, the family looks on as the Private is reinterred, and now all are at peace.Read more at bigpeace.com
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