ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington National Cemetery is relaxing its policies to allow family members of those buried in its Section 60 to leave behind small mementos and photos to honor those buried there, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Section 60 is the part of the cemetery that is home to most of those killed in recent fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Officials say families in that section had been leaving stones, photos and other mementos at their loved ones’ gravesites, even though cemetery policy strictly regulates such impromptu memorials.
Cemetery staffed cleaned out some of those memorials recently, responding to complaints, officials said, prompting complaints from the families who had left the memorials.
Patrick Hallinan, the executive director of the Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery, met with Section 60 families on Oct. 6, and worked out a compromise that will allow displays through the fall and winter months.
Cemetery spokeswoman Jennifer Lynch said the cemetery can more easily accommodate the informal displays in the fall, now that the weather is cooler and the grass-mowing requirements are reduced.
Officials emphasized that items that are unsightly, anything affixed headstones, dangerous items such as tobacco, alcohol, ammunition, and glass, as well as any item that might pose a risk to workers or visitors.
Lynch said the cemetery will review its regulations and policies to see if a long-term accommodation can be made.
Officials said small mementos will be permitted. Photos will be allowed, but cannot be taped to headstones, Lynch said.
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