As Tomb Cracks, Army Mulls New Monument to Unknowns

Repeated patching leaves Arlington marker 'shabby,' but replacement may dim symbolism
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2008 12:28 PM CST
Honor guard members stand in formation beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery during a Veterans Day ceremony in Arlington, Va.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The US Army’s proposal to build a replica of the cracked marble monument atop the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery is reigniting controversy, USA Today reports. “It is important to have the authentic tomb that was there when the first remains were interred,” said one preservationist. Until a decision is made, the Army will again repair the 1921 monument.

“The importance of preserving that tomb as long as possible is paramount,” said a historian. The monument’s cracks aren’t threatening its stability, but the structure will continue to deteriorate despite repairs that could total $65,000. A new monument would cost $2.2 million, but, says a veterans official, “Hallowed ground is only sacred if people care enough to maintain it.”