Families and Veterans Object to “Propaganda” on Arlington Headstones
Friday, October 15, 2010
Unlike headstones at the other military graveyards around the United States, those at Arlington National Cemetery now are featuring titles like “Operation New Dawn” instead of “Iraq War” to indicate in which conflict a particular soldier died. Some veterans’ groups and relatives are not happy about the change.
Traditionally, headstones have included the names of the war in question, such as World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea or the Persian Gulf.
Operation New Dawn is the military’s latest code name for missions in Iraq, which before September 1 were known as Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It’s not a new dawn; we lost a son,” Oscar Aviles, father of Marine Corps Lance Corporal Andrew Aviles who was killed in Iraq in 2003, told The Washington Post. “It’s just a lot of pain and anguish.”
American victims of the War in Afghanistan have their headstones engraved with “Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Critics of Arlington’s policy say it smacks of propaganda and hides the fact that many died in an unpopular war.
Arlington is operated by the U.S. Army, whereas the Department of Veterans Affairs runs the other 131 military cemeteries, where operation names rarely appear on headstones.
Families, Veterans Call Operation Name on Arlington Headstones Propaganda Move (by Christian Davenport, Washington Post)
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