Followup: Statesman’s Gravestone Still in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com May 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm 3,959 25 Comments

An old gravestone of former Secretary of War Robert Porter Patterson is still propped up against a building in a construction site in Clarendon.

Since we first reported on the gravestone last week, we’ve learned that it is a private cemetery marker that was apparently removed from Arlington National Cemetery after a new headstone was put in place following the 1988 death of Patterson’s wife. (See photo of current gravestone, left.)

In a statement, Arlington National Cemetery said it is not responsible for the handling of private headstones.

“A private headstone is installed by a contractor hired by the family,” the cemetery said. “Arlington staff will coordinate the installation with the family-hired contractor. If the family chooses to replace a private headstone, then they would be responsible for hiring a contractor for replacement and disposal.”

Patterson was a World War I veteran who later served as a top military official during World War II and as Secretary of War immediately following the conflict. He died in a plane crash in 1952 and was given a Combined Services Full Honor Funeral, as documented in the book The Last Salute.

As of last night, Patterson’s weathered gravestone was still visible from the sidewalk along 11th Street N., within the Penzance office project construction site. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site today.

The now-shuttered T.A. Sullivan and Son cemetery monument business is located within the site, but ARLnow.com has been unable to reach anyone associated with the business.

Photo courtesy Arlington National Cemetery

  • New Barcrofter

    And? Why is it important that someone take care of a disused marker? As arlnow reported, the marker ws removed frrom Arlingotn Cemetery when a new marker was installed. End of story.

  • Swag

    Slow news day?

    • very slow it seems.

      • Swag

        omg, did you hear?!?

        A plane just landed at the airport.

        • CrystalMikey

          That’s actually a nice little bit of news about the Dreamliner for those of us interested in aviation.

          • John Fontain

            Nah, it’s a disguised ad for Boeing.


  • SomeGuy

    Speaking of cemeteries… this was a dead horse when your first article tried to beat it.

    In other “breaking” news, the sky is still blue and water is still wet.

  • drax
    • SomeGuy

      Must you always celebrate when you’re right about something?

      • John Fontain

        Oh come on. His successes are so few and far between. Let him relish them.

        • SamsFan

          Speaking of relish, what is tomorrow’s special at Sam’s Corner?

          • nom de guerre

            I thought you would never ask. Tomorrow’s daily special at Sam’s Corner is seared black pepper crusted salmon topped with applewood smoked bacon, broccoli rabe and lemon dill caper aioli on artisan multigrain rustico bread. We were going to feature a pickled pomegranate and green peppercorn dijon relish but we sold out over the weekend. Only while supplies last.

        • drax

          Sure, John.

        • Bumpersticker Education

          Relish away. It was half and hour after someone told him the answer.

          • drax

            I was the first to PROVE it.

      • drax

        Well, yeah, I put alot into it.

    • its an old stone

      Sorry, but I beg to differ. My post on May 2nd, 2012 @ 12:50 pm preceded yours by 42 minutes-“There is a new one in place, updated when his wife died in 1988. No crisis. calm down.” No “nailing” here.


      • drax

        Oops, you’re right.

        I asked you for a source and you didn’t give use one though, so I found it myself anyway. I get half the money.

  • speonjosh

    Ditto all the rest.

    ARLNow has yet to answer the most important question – why do we care?

  • BREAKING: Arlington apparently used to be part of DC at some time a while back we think

  • nom de guerre

    arlnow.com posted the following comment related to the initial article regarding the headstone:

    “It is irreverent to have a person’s old gravestone sitting out in a parking lot. That is the news story here.”

    • Clarendon

      I’m not sure if there are an ‘official’ (legal) requirements on disposal of unused headstones. But, several of the googled sources say you should first sand off the etching before either reusing the stone or destroying the stone (break or grind).

    • Swag

      So they should smash it up and use it as gravel?

      Some people use them as sidewalk pavers.

      Maybe just chuck it in the river?

    • speonjosh

      For reals?

      Can you imagine how busy ARLNow would have to be if they decided to publish a story every time someone witnessed something “irreverent?”

  • jackson

    Twenty-two comments from people stating how much they don’t care.


Subscribe to our mailing list