Arlington Cemetery Official Pledges To Make Fixes
Posted on March 27, 2011 by Jessica Kolifrath
The scandal that kept media outlets busy for weeks involving the Arlington National Cemetery in 2010 led to the establishment of a new hierarchy to oversee the nation’s most famous military grave site. Graves were being improperly labeled, urns were being discarded and funding was severely mismanaged. But shortly after the news hit the airwaves the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, stepped in and ensured the public that it would all be made right.
Kathryn Condon is an important part of the improvement of the cemetery. In early March 2011 she made a pledge to the American Legion that she would do all she could to keep Arlington in its best shape. The Army National Cemeteries Program executive director is Condon, and she is the head of the organization designated to handle both the long-term care and daily work at the Arlington National Cemetery.
When the mismanagement of the National Cemetery was first discovered, the public was shocked. But so was Congress, which had been approving large amounts of funding for the program since its creation. Condon’s position was created in response to the issues by the Secretary of the Army directly. After taking a full inventory of management and care issues, Condon is creating a comprehensive plan for tackling the few that remain untreated.
Personal accountability of all cemetery staff has made an immense difference in how it is run says the executive director. 57 more employees will be added to the staff for support and many procedures and policies are changing and being re-examined. Training programs are helping current employees do a better job in caring for graves, maintaining the landscaping and working with guests. Finally, digital mapping is beginning that will eventually create a searchable map that correctly identifies every grave and memorial on the property.