VETERANS ADMINISTRATION APPEAL
In 1901, small 6 inch by 6 inch blocks were placed in the cemetery. Each block contained 3 numbers and no names. These blocks have remained in Oakwood ever since. In order for a person to determine who is buried at that spot, one must go to a central list at the cemetery. Often, it is nearly impossible to locate a cemetery official with access to the list. It was the long held belief of the Virginia Division that this was a dishonorable way of remembering those soldiers who died in defense of their nation and that individual upright markers would be the only way to truly memorialize these men.
The SCV made an initial application to the Veterans Administration for 10 upright markers based on existing federal statute contained in Title 38 Section 2306 of the Federal Code. In this section it is clearly stated that “the Secretary shall furnish, when requested, appropriate government headstones or markers at the expense of the United States for the unmarked graves of the following ….soldiers of the Union and Confederate Armies of the Civil War”.
The Veterans Administration quickly responded by denying the request and stating that the 6X6 blocks were “sufficient marking” for VA purposes and no uprights would be granted.
On January 11, 2012, the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans attended a VA Judicial hearing in Washington, D.C. in order to appeal the denial. The SCV was represented by attorneys Patrick McSweeney and Gerry Gunn. Mr. Trevor Moe, Chief Counsel to US Senator Jim Webb also attended. Senator Webb has taken a leading role in helping the SCV at Oakwood.
No findings or judgments were rendered that day. The SCV awaits the judicial administrative decision.