John R. Tate at Willamette National Cemetery

Jan 13, 2006
Portland, OR. USA
John Robert Tate at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Oregon, on Memorial day 5/30/2011.

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The story is a long one and is not finished yet. But I will try my best at relaying the details as I know them. I have been married to my wife for some time, but this is the first year that we have went to go an see her uncles grave together, kids also :smile:. The grave is at Willamette National Cemetery as her uncle served in the military and fought in the Vietnam war.

Most times we are out of town camping or off on some similar event. It was nice that on this particular Memorial day weekend we stayed home and got to pay our respects at the cemetery. This was the first time I had been to visit the grave and upon arriving I noticed a mistake in the date of death on the headstone. I was both saddened by it, as well as appalled to some degree. It appears that they had started to write the month of death as April, the same as the date of birth. They realized the mistake midway through and performed a ""quick fix", correcting the date of the death to the month of July. The year was 1985.

They discussed this with at least one of the family members and said that it would be corrected. At some later date, my father in-law visited his brothers (John R. Tate) grave and saw that the error had not been corrected. He made inquiries and filled out the proper paperwork to have a correction made. This was in 1985-86.

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It is now 2011, and I can attest that the errors have not been corrected. I felt that it was not right, and after talking with my wife prompted her to call (being directly related) the cemetery about the matter. She was not treated in a professional manner so to speak, and more than once had to correct the women she was speaking with that it was her uncle, and not a grandfather, or grandmother etc. etc. The lady was stumped when she told my wife that her family had to fill out the paper work, to which my wife stated it was in 1985-1986. She still insisted the paperwork needed to be done... Again my wife reiterated that it had been done.

I am surprised that 1 month overlayed on another (an obvious error by the engraver) would have needed any paperwork at all. It simply should never have been placed at the grave and should have been corrected in 1985. However I try to keep in mind that this did not happen yesterday and that I did not witness first hand, any of the facts as they have been relayed to me.

At this point I decided that perhaps a letter to a member of congress may be more productive. While my father is military, I would be silly to think I know the ins-and-outs of the military culture. Within a matter of days we received a letter from 1 of 2 of the Senators I contacted. They appear to be interested in aiding us in resolving this issue and sent a letter along with a form to fill out (privacy issues related to a congressional inquiry). Sending the forms out tomorrow or the next day. I will try to update this post as more information becomes available.

In the meantime I did a little bit of editing, which will hopefully be temporary.

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Jan 5, 2011
Puyallup, WA
As a Veteran and someone who works for the VA, this makes me sad. Some employs would rather tell you to fill out forms then just go see what you are talking about and doing the right thing, most of those employs have never served on Active duty. Good luck with this and try contacting a VFW post they have lots of contacts and can get things done quick.

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