Concern for National Cemeteries

To the Editor,

Memorial Day is a day our nation takes time to remember the many men and women who make the supreme sacrifice by laying down their lives for the freedoms we so cherish. It is a tribute well deserved; however many of our citizens do not fully appreciate the full measure of their sacrifice.

As I reflect on the many I left behind, I recall the story published last year in the press during Memorial Day observances about a Mr. Monti, whose son, a marine, was killed in the current war approximately five years ago and is interred at Otis National Cemetery in Bourne.  Mr. Monti attempted to place a flag at his sons’ grave and those others interred there. As I recall it took Mr. Monti four years to obtain approval to place the flags on each grave, it was Mr. Monti’s tenacity and perseverance to get the authorities to allow him to place a flag at each grave. What a beautiful sight.

My purpose of this letter is to draw attention to a system of rules and regulations governing our National Cemeteries that do not allow headstones or plantings to mark the graves of our fallen soldiers or veterans who so diligently served this nation. Each grave is uniformly marked with a bronze plaque laid flat on the surface; unlike the Arlington National cemetery in our nation’s capital and many others throughout the country that preceded the one at Otis. The reason that headstones are not allowed is ease of maintenance. The caretakers just roll over the graves with a lawnmower.

We as nation cannot bear the inconvenience of maintaining the final resting place of those who gave so much. As we go further in time, I am afraid we will pay less and less attention to those who have given so much defending our freedoms. I hope not.

Hopefully, through a grassroots effort this thoughtless procedure can be reversed to allow head stones to be placed on the graves of our veterans interred at Otis National Cemetery and all other National Cemeteries throughout the Country; the same as those at Arlington National Cemetery and Central Massachusetts. It is the least we as a nation can do.

Joseph F. Napoli

Delano Road, Marion

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