Cemetery Head Quits after Religious Speech Flap

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The director of the Houston National Cemetery is leaving her post after fallout over a religious speech controversy, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials announced Wednesday.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Arleen Ocasio, who's served as director since 2010, will be transferring to a position at the National Cemeteries Administration in Washington.

Earlier this year, several veterans groups sued the Department of Veterans affairs for banning the words "God" or "Jesus" during services at the cemetery, calling it religious discrimination.

The VA denied the allegations.

To the satisfaction of many, a federal judge ruled in October that the words could remain.

Cheryl Whitfield, founder of Houston National Memorial Ladies, was one of the litigants in the Houston cemetery case.

Whitfield told the Chronicle that Ocasio's departure would restore honor to the burial grounds.

"I feel we're going to return a lot of the dignity and honor back to the cemetery, and I'm hoping that with all this, the veterans who lie there will get everything that they deserve," she said.

"The Memorial Ladies and the (Veterans of Foreign Wars), we stood up for what we believe in," she added. "I'll always be proud of that. We're not going to be bullied, and if we are, we're going to make some more noise."

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