Episode #19: “The Tomb of Stifled Patriotism”, from True’s 12 October 2008 issue.
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The Tomb of Stifled Patriotism
John Haines, a retired car dealer from Glenwood Springs, Colo., wanted to do his part: the marble Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has severe cracks, and he decided to take action. Haines commissioned a new piece of marble from the same Colorado quarry where the original was from, so it would match the original exactly. It took five years to find a perfect match, and it was cut in 2003. He paid $31,000 out of his own pocket for it, and even arranged free transportation for the slab to Washington, D.C. But the replacement marble is still sitting at the quarry, since the government won’t accept it. Instead, the Arlington National Cemetery has budgeted $2.2 million for the replacement project, $80,000 of which is solely to support the bidding process. “A citizen can’t just give us any piece of marble and say, ‘This is what we’ll use to replace the tomb’,” sniffed Arlington’s deputy superintendent Thurman Higginbotham. “I understand how the government works,” Haines said. “But there comes a point when you just say ‘to hell with it’.” (Denver Post) …Mr. Haines, welcome to the tail of a long, long queue.
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