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Saturday, June 12, 2004

On Mr. Reagan's Funeral

A few observations on yesterday's proceedings:

1) I don't see how anyone, regardless of their opinions about the military, can view a funeral with military honors and not get teary-eyed. I did okay until the Naval officer handed the flag to Mrs. Reagan, during which he probably said something similar to "Please accept this flag on behalf of a grateful nation."

2) During the drive from Point Mugu to Simi valley, why did Barabara Walters decide to a) tell us all that she and Nancy Reagan became good friends and had luncheons and dinners, and then proceed to rehash Mr. Reagan's deteriorating condition from initial
diagnosis all the way through to not remembering his own children?

Immediately after, Sam Donaldson had to admit that "in retrospect" it was fairly obvious that Mr. Reagan was suffering the effects of his disease even while he was in office. Disgraceful.

3) Was Bill Clinton really asleep? What about Hillary?

4) Bill Clinton was supposedly upset that he wasn't asked to provide an eulogy for Mr. Reagan. Given what and how Mrs. Thatcher, President Bush, former President Mr. Bush (41), and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney eulogized Mr. Reagan, Mr. Clinton would have looked absolutely silly. To me he looks silly much of the time, but yesterday would have been particularly inappropriate.

Perhaps the Democrats thought the gathering at the National Cathedral would turn into a political pep rally for the GOP, like the Democratic rally after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in 2000. Did they really think that those in the Cathedral would start chanting "We're gonna win" or "We'll win one for the Gipper?" I know the Dems did this during their "memorial service" for Wellstone, but I hope they didn't think that it was going to be "partisan." I don't know, maybe they did.

5) There are some claims that the funeral cost Washington D.C. $2.3 million (in reality, probably closer to $10 million) and that it was a waste of money. Last night on local late radio in DFW, replay of Lars Larson had a caller claiming that the $2.3m could have been spent on homeless shelters or VA hospitals. Perhaps, but given the amount of emotion and drama and impact on people's life, perhaps there has never been such "bang for the buck" in government spending since JFK's funeral.

6) I have searched, in vain so far, for written concerns about the mixture of "Church and State" that was insulting to one or more Americans and created a hostile living environment, etc. I have no doubt that it will happen sooner than later.

7) Finally, a comment about the professionalism and dedication to a good job that the military did yesterday. Oh, if every government service was carried out with such dilligence and each government employee was as dedicated to their job.

Many disdain the military, but the color guards, the pall bearers, the musicians, the howitzer gun crews, and the honor guards all performed their jobs with a care and professionalism that is rarely seen by government employees - they clearly are not paid enough.

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