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Ayotte asks for plan to restore vet cemetery in the Philippines

Jan. 16, 2014 - 02:36PM   |  
A headstone for Army Staff Sgt. Hershel Lee Covery at Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines shows how nearly half of his headstone was covered by volcanic ash after the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
A headstone for Army Staff Sgt. Hershel Lee Covery at Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines shows how nearly half of his headstone was covered by volcanic ash after the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. (Clark Veterans Cemetery Restoration Association)
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CONCORD, N.H. — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is asking for a detailed plan to restore, operate and maintain a cemetery in the Philippines where more than 8,300 American veterans are buried, a year after President Obama signed into a law a bill to restore it.

The Clark Veterans Cemetery was neglected following a volcanic eruption in 1991 and abandonment of a U.S. Air Force base. The cemetery was left covered in ash and overgrown by weeds. Since 1994, volunteers in the Philippines have attempted to maintain the cemetery without assistance from the U.S. government

Ayotte said on Dec. 16, the United States and the government of the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in restoring the cemetery.

She recently wrote to the American Battle Monuments Commission provide her with a detailed plan on the restoration work.

“Clark Veterans Cemetery is sacred ground, and I know you agree that we have a solemn duty as a nation to ensure that the brave Americans buried there have the dignified and well-maintained resting place that they deserve,” Ayotte wrote to Max Cleland, commission secretary.

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