Arlington tomb repairs must get Congress' OK

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The Army will not be allowed to replace the cracked monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery without first reporting to Congress on repair options and getting lawmakers' approval.

The requirement was included in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act signed Monday by President Bush.

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat, introduced the amendment in September, after The Washington Times reported the Army was nearing a decision to replace the 48-ton white marble sarcophagus.

"Like the Liberty Bell and the Star-Spangled Banner, the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns is a national treasure that has been weathered by time," Mr. Akaka said yesterday. "We must ensure that we first explore all options and move with great caution."

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