Should a leader of the KKK convicted of rape and murder remain buried in a national cemetery?

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When D.C. Stephenson was buried at the Mountain Home National Cemetery in 1966, there were no guidelines governing eligibility for interment there, except that the deceased had been honorably discharged from military service.

Today, however, Stephenson's body would never have come close to entering the gates of the cemetery, given his background.

Yes, he was honorably discharged from the Army after serving stateside during World War I, but according to historical documentation, there was nothing honorable about the life Stephenson went on to lead. And a Kingsport man — a veteran and historian — is incensed that Stephenson's final resting place is among others who served in the military.

“I think we can do a modest investigation of this and come up with a solution that passes muster," said Wesley Hilton. "It is offensive he lays in a cemetery over there with our honored dead, some who have the Medal of Honor."

Hilton wants the staff to remove Stephenson’s grave from Mountain Home, but officials there say there’s no simple fix.

Some might say Hilton's disgust with Stephenson's grave being in a national cemetery comes as no surprise. Stephenson, who was honorably discharged from the Army as a second lieutenant on Feb. 4, 1919, went on to become Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana and a notorious rapist and murderer who served nearly 30 years in prison before being paroled and booted out of that state.




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