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Pentagon faces backlash over proposal to allow non-veteran presidents to be buried at Arlington

A Pentagon proposal to allow presidents and vice presidents who haven’t served in the military to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery has been blasted by veterans. 

Some military members are expressing opposition to the potential plans, claiming it is an attempt by President Trump to ensure that he will be laid to rest at the famous cemetery when he eventually passes away. 

Back in September, the Defense Department sought feedback on potential plans to restrict who could be buried at Arlington, saying that they were fast running out of space. 

‘The nation’s premiere military cemetery is at a critical crossroads in its history. Nearly all of the 22 million living armed forces members and veterans are eligible for less than 95,000 remaining burial spaces within these hallowed grounds, ‘ a statement from the cemetery read. 

A Pentagon proposal to allow presidents and vice presidents who haven't served in the military to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery has been blasted by veterans. President Trump and First Lady Melania are pictured at Arlington last year

A Pentagon proposal to allow presidents and vice presidents who haven’t served in the military to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery has been blasted by veterans. President Trump and First Lady Melania are pictured at Arlington last year 

In order to will keep Arlington functioning as an active burial ground into the future, the Pentagon proposed restricting in-ground interments to recipients of the Purple Heart, former POWs, and those killed in action or combat related services. 

Despite the shortage of space, the proposal adds that former presidents and vice presidents would also be allowed to buried at Arlington, regardless of whether not they have served in the military. 

The Pentagon people allowed 60 days to comment on the proposal, with The Wall Street Journal reporting Sunday that many veterans were left less than impressed. 

‘I strongly feel that interment or inurnment in Arlington National Cemetery should be limited to those who actually served in the military to maintain the respect for their sacrifice,’ one comment read. 

Back in September, the Defense Department sought feedback on potential plans to restrict who could be buried at Arlington, saying that they were fast running out of space

Back in September, the Defense Department sought feedback on potential plans to restrict who could be buried at Arlington, saying that they were fast running out of space

Some military members are expressing opposition to the potential plans, claiming it is an attempt by President Trump to ensure that he will be laid to rest at the famous cemetery when he eventually passes away

Some military members are expressing opposition to the potential plans, claiming it is an attempt by President Trump to ensure that he will be laid to rest at the famous cemetery when he eventually passes away

A member of the Trump Administration said the President played no part in developing the proposal. 

A Defense Department confirmed that to be the case with the Wall Street Journal. 

Trump is not the only living Commander-in-chief who has not served in the military.  

Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – both Democrats – also are non-veterans. 

However, Democrats are largely opposed to allowing presidents without military credentials be buried at Arlington. 

Democrat Senator Tammy Duckworth – an Iraq War veteran and retired U.S. Army officer – has introduced legislation prohibiting non-veteran presidents and vice presidents from being interred there. 

Only two US presidents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery – William Howard Taft, who died in 1930, and John F. Kennedy, who died in 1963. Taft qualified for burial there because he served as secretary of war and a chief justice of the Supreme Court. Kennedy served in World War II. 

President John F. Kennedy is pictured being buried at Arlington in 1963

President John F. Kennedy is pictured being buried at Arlington in 1963

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