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Nazi Headstones Will be Removed From US Veterans Cemeteries, VA Leaders Say

Veterans Affairs officials announced Monday they will remove a series of of grave markers bearing Nazi swastikas and tributes to Adolf Hitler from department cemeteries after lawmakers and veterans advocates complained the markers were offensive and disrespectful.

The move represents a turnaround from last week, when VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said he was looking for ways to put the problematic grave markers “in historical context” rather than remove them from the cemeteries.

But critics said any result that left the controversial symbols alongside the graves of American war heroes was insufficient. After about two weeks of controversy, VA officials relented.

“It is understandably upsetting to our veterans and their families to see Nazi inscriptions near those who gave their lives for this nation,” Wilkie said in a statement Monday. “That’s why VA will initiate the process required to replace these POW headstones.”

At issue are three grave sites at two VA cemeteries: Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in Texas and Fort Douglas Post Cemetery in Utah.

Both were used to inter dozens of unclaimed remains of enemy troops following World War II. The sites were administered by the Army for decades until responsibilities were transferred to VA’s National Cemetery Administration.

Read More: Military Times