Hearing Examines Progress on Grave Markers at National Cemeteries

Apr 10, 2013
Press Release

April 10, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a hearing on the state of veterans’ cemeteries, including upkeep and areas for improvement. Additionally, the hearing examined a Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s (VAOIG) report from February 7, 2013, entitled “Audit of Internal Gravesite Review of Headstone and Marker Placement,” which found that the National Cemetery Administration (NCA)’s internal review procedures did not identify and report all misplaced headstones and unmarked gravesites.

“I appreciate that the VA and the Inspector General’s office have taken action and that the problems discovered by this report are being acted upon,” said Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.  “It’s always disturbing and unacceptable to hear of instances in which veterans were incorrectly interred or grave markers were misplaced, but I’m satisfied that these instances are being identified and corrected, allowing loved ones the peace of mind that they deserve. Moving forward, I would encourage the VA to continue to conduct audits on a rolling basis, while also identifying any quality controls that can ensure continued diligence in cemetery management.”

Since its creation in 1872, the NCA has expanded its geographic diversity to better serve veterans across the country, and recent legislation has further expanded its reach to rural and urban areas. Despite this progress, some states still do not have a national cemetery.

“A proper burial for our nation’s veterans is a solemn obligation,” said Titus. “While access has grown significantly, there is still a very large population of veterans who do not have a nearby national cemetery in which to be buried. The state of Nevada does not have one, leaving over 230,000 veterans without the option of being buried in a national cemetery in their home state. I believe we must improve access to national cemeteries for all veterans, especially those who live in states that currently do not have one.”

The Ranking Member’s full opening statement can be found here.