Leave Them In Peace Or Bring Them Back To the US?

I have written before about the US Sailors and Marines killed in Tripoli in 1804 while attacking the pirate fleet based there. Hence the line in the Marine Hymn, “to the shores of Tripoli.” What is fascinating about history is the changing perceptions of customs which occur as time moves on.

Descendants of the men killed in action want their remains repatriated to the US and they lobbied the Congress to do this which the Congress almost agreed to do until Sen. John McCain (no relation) blocked it. He did so because the Department of Defense thinks the bodies of the thirteen sailors and marines should stay in Tripoli. Says the US Navy in the Washington Post of 1 December 2011:

“Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert considers the Tripoli Protestant cemetery to be the final resting place of the Intrepid sailors who sacrificed their lives for our nation,” Lt. Cmdr. Alana Garas, a Navy spokeswoman, said in a statement this week, echoing the stance of Greenert’s predecessor, Adm. Gary Roughhead.

(Source: The Washington Post by Jason Ukman.)

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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