Solution found for cremated remains left at Vietnam Veterans Memorial

WASHINGTON — In what’s being described as a “dignified solution,” the National Park Service now has an agreement with a group to take possession of cremated remains that have been left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“We are very grateful for Missing in America Project,” said National Mall spokesman Mike Litterst.

The Missing in America Project said it will have the cremains interred with full military honors in an in-ground vault at a private cemetery in Manassas, Virginia.

“The agreement gives us a dignified solution to ensure the respectful and perpetual care of the cremains that have been left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” Litterst said.

The project is staffed by volunteers from the Missing in America Veterans Recovery Program, who typically visit mortuaries, cemeteries and crematoriums to search for those who “deserve to be buried with honor and respect.”

“Our mission statement is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremains of military veterans,” said Brigitte Corbin of the Missing in America Project.

Since 1989, approximately 80 sets of ashes have been left at the memorial wall, despite the park service not having appropriate means for their care.

“I don’t want to see any veteran left on a shelf,” Corbin said. “I’ve been around the military my whole life, my husband is retired military, and I believe strongly in this mission statement and the work that we’re doing.”

Despite the new arrangement, existing park service policy isn’t changing.

“Leaving of cremated remains or the scattering of ashes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is still prohibited by regulation,” Litterst said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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