(Photo: Clarks Veterans Cemetery Association)

Veterans cemetery to be restored, maintained

President Obama has signed into law legislation authorizing restoration of the abandoned and volcanic ash-covered Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines, an action favored strongly by The American Legion.

The Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act, S.2320, was enacted by the president on Jan. 10., after being introduced by Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., in April 2012.

Clark Veterans Cemetery had fallen into disrepair after Clark Air Force Base, overlooking the city of Manila, was closed in the wake of a volcanic eruption that devastated the site in 1991. Since 1994, it has been maintained as best possible by volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars with assistance from Legionnaires. Government sponsored restoration of the cemetery, the final resting place for nearly 8,600 individuals – mostly U.S. servicemembers and dependents – was encouraged through American Legion Resolution 29, adopted during Fall Meetings in October 2012.

The new law requires the American Battle Monuments Commission to restore, operate and maintain Clark Veterans Cemetery. A detailed history of the cemetery and efforts to restore it can be found on the website of the Tulsa, Okla.,-based Clark Veterans Cemetery Association, a volunteer organization supported, in part, by Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Va.