Dead or Wounded in service to our nation: 50,000 in the Revolutionary War; approx 31,700 in the Quasi & Barbary Wars & other actions against pirates; ~25,000 in the War of 1812; ~900,000 in the Civil War; 4,068 in the Spanish-American War; 7,126 in the Philippine-American War; 320,518 in WWI; 1,076,245 in WWII; 128,650 in the Korean War; 211,454 in the Vietnam War; 1,231 in the Gulf War; 36,231 in the Iraq War; and 7,125 in the War in Afghanistan.
There are also more than 2 Million active duty, reserve and civilian members of the U.S. Military; whose families also serve, often preforming a much tougher mission than their loved ones – they worry and wait for them to send word, and to come home again when the mission is done.
For those who paid the ultimate price, who were wounded on a battlefield and returned to a grateful nation, and those that still serve – Thank you and God Bless.
A story in the Denver Post on the 18th of August was brought to my attention by the news team at WBAL, an AM Radio news and talk station in Baltimore yesterday. Entitled, “Marble for Unknowns Tomb Just Sits“, it provides another example of the initially well intended regulations of government inhibiting common sense.
A retired car dealer named John Haines has, with his own money, purchased a large enough slab of marble that can be formed into a new monument that will replace the cracked and aging Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument at Arlington National Cemetery. The marble block was hewn from the earth by veterans, at the exact same quarry the current marble monument was cut from. Mr. Haines has also arraigned for the marble block to be transported, FREE OF CHARGE, to the east coast for sculpting and eventual dedication.
There is just one problem, Mr. Haines’ donation of this block to the cemetery cannot go forward because an “ordinary citizen”, in the words of the deputy superintendent at Arlingon, Mr. Thurman Higginbotham, “….can’t just give us any piece of marble and say, ‘This is what we’ll use to replace the tomb.”
I sincerely hope that Mr. Higginbotham and the rest of the Arlington Cemetery management is suffering from only a temporary state of beaucratic stupidity, and does not sincerely wish to deny Mr. Haines’ the opportunity to complete his generous donation. Assuming the block is properly sized for the sculpting process and of the quality needed to serve as a fitting memorial, the Arlington authorities should petition Congress or the appropriate government body for the waiver needed to accept Mr. Haines’ gift.
It would be a shameful event if the Arlington Cemetery management choses to spend $170,000 tax payer dollars to solict bids to sell the stone to the government and then transport it for sculpting. There is a marble block made much more worthy by the honorable intent and charity of our citizens standing ready in Colorado to honor and keep alive the memory of our Soldiers Known but to God.