HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A Huntsville family is upset that someone would take a loved one’s grave marker from his final resting place.
Earl Lee Archie was a veteran of the Vietnam war. The Archie family are planning to celebrate his military life on this Veterans Day, but instead, they received some disturbing news that the marker that sits on his burial gravestone at the Meadowlawn Garden of Peace Cemetery in Toney was removed with the intent to sell it for profit.
“It’s heartbreaking and it’s shocking,” said his daughter Sylvia Archie.
Sylvia was completely stunned when she heard the news. She followed her dad’s footsteps into the military, spending 20 years as an American hero. She immediately notified her mother, who was horrified by the act of boldness.
“It’s hurtful. It’s very hurtful. I feel disrespected. I mean he put his life on the line, and somebody wants to just take. It’s very hurtful,” she said.
“It’s one thing to steal from the living and now you’re stealing from the dead and you’re stealing from their families and on top of that they are veterans,” says Bobby Lee of local VFW 2702 in Huntsville.
Lee says that veterans like Earl Lee Archie and his daughter Sylvia have sacrificed too much for this country to grasp the nature of this act. Saying, regardless of the outcome, he wants the perpetrators caught and brought to justice.
Leed added, “It’s like they’ve had the wound reopened and reminded of everything. It’s just disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.”
The police have yet to be notified about this, but the family is hopeful that the perpetrators think twice before doing it again.
The family says that the Alabama Veterans Affairs has since recovered the grave marker and the markers of other veterans’ headstones. The VA is holding on to the grave marker for the moment as part of their own investigation and the family is hopeful that it is returned to them soon.