Cracked Tomb of Unknowns Draws Fire

Officials, preservationists square off over future of Tomb of the Unknowns
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2008 2:35 PM CDT
President Bush lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns during a Memorial Day ceremony, Monday, May 26, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Cracks marring the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery are driving a spirited debate on how to return the marble monument to its original glory, CNN reports. On one side stand cemetery officials, who would like to replace the sarcophagus with a replica; on the other, stand preservationists, obviously infuriated by the idea and wanting it repaired. Difference in cost? $2.2 million versus $65,000.

"A replica is not the same thing as the original," says one monument buff, whose group successfully lobbied Congress to mandate that Arlington look into all repair possibilities. The cemetery will continue with partial repairs, but still hopes to develop a replacement for the Tomb, which attracts some 4 million people annually to see the shrine to four unknown servicemen from World War I through the Vietnam War.