Tomb of the unknowns is cracking with age

THURSDAY 2-07-08….Here’s another interesting little tidbit that isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but interesting nonetheless. Interesting to me because I first reported on this situation back in the decade of the 90’s during the era of the KPAY Liveline. It has to do with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I remember reporting at that time, that a crack had developed in the marble monument.

Work immediately got underway to dig up another marble slab in preparation to replace the current monument. An update on that situation is published in the current edition of Navy Times and says the work has ground to a halt. Congress has blocked the replacement of the cracked Tomb at Arlington National Cemetery pending a study of ways to repair the existing monument.

The original marble monument was installed back in 1931 and the first tiny cracks appeared in the 1940’s and the big crack developed in the 90’s. The cemetery had been leaning toward replacing the monument completely. Kara McCarthy, spokeswoman for the cemetery says “we’ve tried repairing it, but the cracks will continue to get worse. We want to have as flawless a monument as possible for our unknown service members.”

According to Navy Times, the most noticeable crack now cuts through the middle of the monument, slicing through sculptures of Greek figures representing Peace, Victory and Valor on one side and running below the words “an American” on the other.

The defense bill President Bush signed into law last month includes an amendment to prevent replacement of the tomb pending a report to congress….and that was good news to Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Hawaii’s senator Akaka. Both said, “though cracked, this monument represents the patriotic spirit of all the brave unidentified men and women who have fought and died in America’s wars.

The monument is a national treasure that has been weathered by time, much like the Liberty Bell and the Star Spangled Banner.

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2 Responses

  1. Wait ’til Code Pink gets wind of this. I can see the banners now, “Get the military out of Arlington!”

  2. “Weathered by time”…that’s an interesting way to put it.

    America found a way to repair and refurbish the Statue of Liberty a few years ago. Waiting on congress might not be the best answer to this blot on the American conscience. Surely there’s another way to get er done…or are there laws against such maverick interventions?

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