Whistleblower alleges more abuses at Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery

10:35 AM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
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CHELTENHAM, Md. (WUSA9) --  A whistle-blower who does not want his identity revealed claims the accidental disturbance of at least 56 graves on Monday at the Cheltenham Maryland Veterans Cemetery points to larger problems.

"Its just a total lack of regard and respect," the man who claims intimate knowledge of cemetery operations told WUSA9 as visitors wandered the cemetery on New Year's Day.

The whistle-blower gave a tour of a maintenance area that he described as little more than an illegal dump.  The area included a rusting and abandoned trailer, plastic flower urns, tires and broken grave stones dumped into holes and landscaping waste left in haphazard piles.  A small American flag was left in the mud.

The man said the area indicates a lack of professionalism that shakes his confidence in the cemetery's ability to protect the dignity of veteran's and family members buried at Cheltenham.

On Monday, workers disturbed at least 56 grave sites when a tractor became stuck in the mud.  Emergency repairs were made Tuesday after photos posted on social media sparked outrage.

Maryland Secretary of Veteran's Affairs Edward Chow Jr. promised personal apologies to all families affected by the incident.  Chow called the incident "unacceptable" and is promising a review of operations at the cemetery.

Chow was not available Wednesday to comment on the allegations made by the whistle-blower.

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