Congressman Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) today introduced the Tomb of Remembrance Act. The legislation would create a Tomb of Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery for the interment of veterans' remains from every military conflict moving forward.
Stivers introduced the legislation in response to news stories late last year on the Dover Air Force Base mortuary sending veterans' remains to the Prince George Landfill. The Washington Post in an article from December 7, 2011 uncovered that "976 fragments from 274 military personnel were cremated, incinerated and taken to the landfill between 2004 and 2008."
"This is an outrage, a terrible injustice to our service members, and cannot be allowed to stand," Stivers said. "The first step to address this issue is creating a proper memorial for the remains of those who served, so a travesty like this can never occur again. Those who gave the final measure in their service to our great nation deserve a final resting place worthy of their dedication, commitment and devotion."
Stivers' legislation creates a Tomb of Remembrance for each conflict moving forward for the interment of cremated fragments of service member remains that are unidentifiable by DNA or are unclaimed after a reasonable period of time. This includes Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in Iraq.
The funding for the Tombs of Remembrance will come from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.