Lawmakers from both the House and Senate are calling for accountability following the discovery of numerous errors in the names of soldiers on the Korean War Veterans Memorial. The mistakes were discovered by the Korean War Project, which had warned officials of the potential for errors in the list of names being used for a new remembrance wall at the memorial. Despite these warnings, officials proceeded with the $22 million project and unveiled it in July 2022. The Korean War Project later reported at least 1,015 spelling mistakes among the stone etchings, as well as the names of 245 individuals who were not killed in the conflict but had their names included anyway.
Lawmakers have expressed concern over the errors and are launching a formal investigation to determine how and why they occurred. They have requested that Defense Department leaders submit plans for a revised and accurate list of names by March 23 and are considering public hearings on the issue. While the memorial work was paid for through private donations, lawmakers believe that finding a way to fix the errors is in the public’s interest due to the high-profile nature of the mistakes.
“Errors of this magnitude should not have made it past the initial blueprints, much less carved into stone, and certainly not erected and unveiled to the public,” a bipartisan group of key congressional leaders wrote in a March 3 letter to Defense Department leaders.
“We find these errors deeply concerning and write to seek accountability on how the Remembrance Wall’s glaring flaws went unnoticed until post-construction,” the lawmakers wrote.
Officials with the Korean War Memorial Foundation have said they will work with Park Service staff to make corrections to the remembrance wall if DoD officials determine that their lists were incomplete or inaccurate. Lawmakers are seeking accountability for the errors and are determined to ensure that such mistakes are not repeated in the future.