NCMAF Urges Update of Chaplains Hill Monuments at Arlington National Cemetery

New York, NY, December 13, 2023 -- Another Veterans Day passes, and the Protestant and Catholic Memorials on Chaplains Hill on Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery remain without being updated to honor the names of chaplains who died in service from Korea to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two Acts of Congress cannot budge the civilian administrators at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) to take action and update these memorials.

Arlington National Cemetery agreed to the addition of Protestant, Catholic, and the Jewish Memorials since Chaplains Hill in Sec.2 was created in the early 1980s.

The oldest chaplain memorial dedicated to Protestants is falling into disrepair, and the names of chaplains from Korea, Vietnam, Cold War and the War on Terror have not been added.

Names of Catholic Chaplains who died from service in Iraq and Afghanistan have also not been added to the Catholic Monument on Chaplains Hill.

The National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces (NCMAF) organized a small committee ten years ago to upgrade the Protestant Memorial with a granite headstone, replacing the crumbling concrete headstone and making a new bronze plaque that included the missing chaplain’s names. This committee has diligently, respectfully, and repeatedly sought to upgrade the memorial at no cost to the taxpayers, only to be turned back with each request.

With little recourse left, NCMAF went to Congress to request that a law be passed to give them the authority to upgrade the Protestant Memorial.

In 2021, the National Defense Authorization Act approved by Congress and signed by President Biden, contained a passage providing the NCMAF authority to upgrade this monument.

Amazingly, even after Congress and the President granted NCMAF permission to upgrade this monument, ANC administrators again denied NCMAF approval to move forward arguing that some of the dead had not reached the 25 years required before being honored. 

Legal authorities have cited that Secretary of the Army Wormuth has authority to waive the 25 year requirement.

NCMAF returned to Congress and the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act approved by Congress and signed by President Biden, again contained a passage directing that the Chaplains Hill Monuments be updated.

Despite direction contained in two National Defense Authorization Bills signed by President Biden no approval to move forward on updates to Chaplains Hill have been provided by Arlington National Cemetery officials.

NCMAF calls for Secretary Wormuth to provide Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the American people a report on when the updates to Chaplains Hill approved by the President will be carried out.

Rabbi Harold Robinson, Ch, RADM, USN, (Ret.) shared, “Americans applaud and appreciate the brave efforts of our fallen chaplains. We strive to collaborate with officials at Arlington Cemetery and the Secretary of the Army.”

“We do not understand, given the authorization on Capitol Hill and the consent of The White House, why the Secretary of the Army and her department would not immediately approve securing the memory of our fallen clergy,” said The Right Reverend Derek Jones, Bishop of the Armed Forces & Chaplaincy and Chair of the NCMAF Board of Directors. “The President and Congress have indicated they want to honor these heroes.”

“We thought that there was no better way to mark Veterans Day than to secure the memory of these fallen military chaplains who paid the ultimate price with their lives,” said Father Robert R. Cannon, Ch, Col, USAF (Ret.), Catholic representative to the NCMAF.

NCMAF has the financing and materials to update the monument at no cost to the Government or Arlington Cemetery. It would replace the aging concrete Protestant Chaplains Monument with a new granite piece in the same shape and size as the current one. Dignity Memorial Company will donate the new granite monument and provide installation.

To urge your congressman to take action, visit