Eligibility for burial at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., would become significantly limited, under plans the Army has put forward. The proposed restrictions would ensure that the most deserving veterans and service members could be buried at Arlington “well into the future,” according to an Army statement. Without the changes, the cemetery could be full and closed to new burials by the mid-2050s. Part of the plan calls for reserving 1,000 burial spaces for Medial of Honor recipients.
The change would limit below-ground interment to service members and veterans who :
* Are killed in action, including those whose remains are repatriated.
* Earned the Silver Star or higher honors for valor in combat.
* Hold a Purple Heart medal.
* Die in combat while conducting “uniquely military activities.”
* Are former prisoners of war.
* Presidents and vice presidents of the United States.
* Are combat veterans who also served the government and made “significant contributions to the nation’s security at the highest level of public service” as civilians.
Aboveground interment would be reserved for
* World War II-era veterans.
* Military retirees who are otherwise not eligible for interment.
* Combat veterans who served a minimum of two years on active duty.
* Veterans who did not serve in combat, but made significant contributions to national security while serving as high-level civilian government officials.
The proposal will be published in the Federal Register for citizens to comment.