Congresswoman Ross pushes for improvement on Raleigh National Cemetery flooding

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are several recent changes to the southeast corner of the Raleigh National Cemetery. Mud marks have been scrubbed off headstones. The sun is beating down on the ground. It seems five large trees were cut down. The branches were blocking light and making it hard for the sun to absorb standing water.

Congresswoman Deborah Ross saw the images of neglect and felt implored to step in. She said she strongly feels that veteran memorials should be cared for at the highest standards.

"Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case," said Ross, a Democrat who represents North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District.

She sent a letter to a Veteran Affairs secretary urging the office expeditiously fix a drainage problem and writes, "due to these issues, dozens of servicemembers' graves who fought in World War II, the Vietnam Ware, and the Korean War are frequently left underwater after heavy rainfall."

"We put (national memorials) up, we create them, but then we don't maintain them. We don't pay attention to them," said Ross. "we have to understand that when you're honoring people and you're honoring their service, you honor their service by checking in."

ABC11 saw the flooding firsthand and reached out to the VA for someone to come out to pump water.

The Office said the cemetery does not have permanent staff or equipment.

If a problem arose before, a crew from Salisbury two hours away were called in to help. The VA is now contracting a local team to routinely clear the land.

The work will cost $400 each visit and will offer the public a chance to properly honor our nation's heroes.

"Where you can go and reflect, where families go to pay respects to people who have just done everything for our country," Ross said.

A permanent fix is on the horizon.

The VA said a design contract should be awarded within the next couple of weeks, should start in July and the repair is expected to be finished by September.
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