story by: The Associated Press
On a hillside of Arlington National Cemetery, the markers remember the dead. Unlike the rest of the cemetery, though, no bodies are buried in section MK. These markers remember those who were lost but never recovered, the missing in action.
The memorial markers cover just a fraction of the cemetery. Out of more than 400,000 buried at Arlington, there are only 2,740 memorial markers.
A service Friday at a new marker honoring a World War II soldier who went missing in the Pacific theater is indicative of the sometimes tortuous process families have had to undertake to get a stone placed and a reminder of the administrative failures that led to a change in leadership at the cemetery several years ago.
In 2005, Brooklyn resident David Shulman read a newspaper article about a marker placed at Arlington to commemorate a service member who had gone missing in the South Pacific. Until then, Shulman had never realized that his grandfather, Capt. Stan Loewenberg, was eligible to receive a similar marker.
Now, more than seven years later, a corrected stone is in place at the cemetery and a service with military honors is scheduled for Friday.
“I cannot even tell you what a frustrating, absurd process this has been. They should be ashamed of themselves,” Shulman said. “My grandfather gave his life to his country. They made us feel like they were doing us a favor.”
Getting the first marker placed, actually, was not especially cumbersome. The family called the cemetery, provided some documentation, and after a period of some months received a postcard in 2006 notifying them that the marker had been installed.
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