They deserved better from us

America is grieving a surfacing development orchestrated by the officials who run Dover Air Force Base’s mortuary.

The mortuary handles the remains of deceased men and women, a task that typically involves scheduling a burial and informing family members. Conceivably, it can be an emotionally trying task at times, but who knew that it would produce challenges that could only be quelled by fire and trash?



If a soldier’s arm won’t fit in his coffin, just saw it off. What happened to that ankle? I’m sure I saw it in a plastic bag right over there.



Yes, that happened, according to a Washington Post report last week. Those details were among the most gruesome, but the lack of a moral conscience didn’t stop there.

Air Force officials, also according to the Post, said some remains were cremated and dumped in a Virginian landfill after they could not be identified or were later recovered from a battlefield.



That’s their reasoning. Really?



The Post reported that federal investigators released last week their findings that cited “gross mismanagement” after whistleblowers called attention to missing body parts.

Some violators were able to retain their jobs.

From our perspective, “gross” was the perfect word to use. Not only meaning flagrant, the word correctly describes the literal and figurative disrespect shown to the soldiers who died fighting elected men’s wars.

In return for the sacrifice of life, your son can have his dismembered leg burned and strewn in with the rest of society’s trash. Thanks.

Again and again, our troops’ health care and welfare benefits are used as political tools, and while that is concerning, it pales in comparison to the burn-and-dump process implemented to cut corners and ignore possible alternatives. This insulting disposal of body parts without regard for preservation reeks of laziness.

Perhaps it is too much to ask for a special burial for unidentifiable limbs. But there’s surely a medium between that and resorting to a landfill. The gap that lies between, and the potential for a more respectful rectification, is revolting; it’s a far cry from Arlington.

Time and time again, it has been said in this space and many others that our soldiers are mistreated, that we should expect more to be done for those who risk their lives, sometimes for the good of our nation and others on the whims of politicians.

This latest example of dissent is a poignant portrait of just how little some people think of humanity and the ultimate sacrifice it entails.