Local News

'Inexcusable:' Armed forces graves at National Cemetery in Raleigh marred by flooding

Posted January 5, 2021 6:38 p.m. EST

The National Cemetery in Raleigh has a major problem.

When it rains, dozens of headstones are swamped with water and mud.

Now, the Veterans Administration says it's working to prevent the flooding.

The cemetery is peaceful and polished. Its white marble headstones, adorned with wreaths, are aligned like soldiers standing in formation.

But – there is an invasion ... of standing water.

In the lowest-lying corner of the Raleigh National Cemetery, a low brick wall has acted as an accidental dam, allowing rainwater to collect.

Because of the consistent flooding, grass no longer grows there. A wide path of mud runs through the headstones on the hillside, where water has come streaming down.

At the bottom, more than 30 gravestones become surrounded by water and muck.

"I mean, these boots I have on are not even sufficient enough to trek through that mess. That's inexcusable," said Charles Johnson, who frequently comes to visit his grandparents' grave.

His grandfather served in World War Two and Korea.

"I would call it an urgent problem, and I'm glad my grandparents' grave site is not 20 feet further in this direction," he said.

The Veterans Affairs Administration manages the cemetery.

A spokesperson released a statement to WRAL saying this part of the cemetery was "recently identified as having a drainage issue, and we are currently coordinating with our district engineers on a repair project" to be completed by this spring.

The statement says that will prevent flooding in the future.

Until then, VA employees are pumping out the water.

"It's unacceptable as a taxpayer and as an American and as a family member," said Johnson.

Johnson is just relieved something is being done to fend off this invasion, allowing these heroes to rest in peace – while standing their ground.   

The VA says it's committed to honoring the heroes by "providing the highest level of grounds maintenance."

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