Headstones project reaches brick wall

One of the new headstones at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery

One of the new headstones at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery

A strange story came to my attention today via the New York Daily News. Regular followers of the blog know how much Brooklyn’s Green-Wood’s Cemetery means to me, so much so that my wife knows to lay me there to rest when it’s time for my just reward. Green-Wood has many natural, historical, and cultural charms. Like all cemeteries–as opposed to graveyards–it is, paradoxically, a living place. One of the signs of life over the last decade has been the hundreds of Civil War headstones that have gone up in that time. The process takes place with volunteers, working with the cemetery historian, going through old military, pension, and burial records to ascertain the soldiers now resting there. It seems the Department of Veterans Affairs has instituted a rule change that only family can request headstones for loved ones. Needless to say, this will put a damper on the project; demographic changes over the last century and a half have taken many Brooklynites away from the borough. It is difficult to believe many will come forward to identify an ancestor who wore the Grey or Blue. Yes, there are a handful of Confederates buries in Green-Wood.

I really do not know a whole lot about the situation at the moment. My guess is that it is a budget thing. I know the VA has been very busy the past decade and more. Iraq. Afghanistan. Aging WW2 and now Korean and Vietnam vets. The agency has had its hands full. Still, it would seem a shame if this project, not just in Green-Wood but at similar places across the country, were to end. If anyone know more about this please feel free to enlighten us.

3 Comments

Filed under Monuments and Statuary

3 responses to “Headstones project reaches brick wall

  1. The VA has had this rule in place for (I think) 2-3 years now, but its effects are still trickling down. I also presume that this is a matter of funding.

    On the other hand, I heard recently that the VA announced it was going to revisit this policy, and possibly seek public input on it. So it might change.