Sunday, January 22, 2012

CAMP LEJEUNE: Documentary examines how toxic water at the nation’s largest Marine base damaged lives

Surrounded by hundreds of tiny marble headstones, he started to cry. A documentary film crew that followed him for a story about water contamination at Camp Lejeune heard his whimpers through a microphone clipped to his clothes. The crew dashed from another part of the graveyard and found him asking, “Why them and not me?”

A congressional hearing in 2007 revealed that the camp ignored a directive from the Navy to inspect its water systems for possible contamination and to develop a protocol for the safe disposal of hazardous compounds.

During four years of filming that ended last year, the two men heard mention of a cemetery near Camp Lejeune where hundreds of sick and malformed babies were interred. 

When Ensminger and Partain heard tales of a graveyard section called Baby Heaven two years ago, Partain, whose parents left the camp shortly after his birth, went back.

Baby Heaven isn’t its official name. But local residents called it that, along with Baby Land, as it grew to accommodate more than 700 graves, said Carmen Miracle, the city clerk.
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