FCCPA member Maddy McCoy sent the following letter to the Editor of The Washington Post. It appeared in the Tuesday, June 22, 2010 edition, page A18 under the headline Respect the dead — and history.

It has been disheartening to learn of the careless treatment of veterans’ remains and gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery [“Arlington headstones found lining stream,” front page, June 17].

Unfortunately, this is a reflection of the way many cemeteries throughout the metro area are neglected and overlooked. In my work researching the history of enslaved people in Northern Virginia, I am constantly reminded of how the frightening speed of urban development has threatened and even obliterated what should be sacred places. Beyond the importance of respect for those who have passed on, these cemeteries are vital historical sites containing information available nowhere else.

It is time that local authorities take stronger measures to protect these sites and preserve them, both for the sake of past and future generations.

Maddy McCoy, Fairfax