State veterans office apologizes for mismatched graves

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The director of the Rhode Island Veterans Affairs office is apologizing to families after it was discovered 21 grave markers of their loved ones’ were misaligned at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Director Kasim Yarn also extended apologies Monday afternoon to seven families whose family members had been buried by mistake in adjacent grave sites due to the alignment error.

“I extend my most sincere apologies to all of the families impacted by this unacceptable mistake. Our Veterans and their families make tremendous sacrifices for our nation and we owe each of them respect and dignity, especially in their final resting place,” Yarn said.

The Veterans Affairs staff discovered the issue last Thursday, and determined it all stems from an extra space left between two gravesites back in November 2010, before permanent grave markers were put into place the following spring.

The affected grave markers were repositioned to the correct locations over the weekend, the VA office said.

On Monday, the RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery Administrator called the families. “Most wanted an explanation from me to explain to them how it happened and they were appreciated that we took the time to call them,” said Cara Condit, the administrator.

The officials in charge of the cemetery during the time of the initial incident are no longer employed by the Office of Veterans Affairs.