"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
No Military Honors for Me, Thanks
Exclusive to STR
January 5, 2007
The funeral of former President Gerald R. Ford was breathtaking to behold. All the pomp and circumstances beautifully and movingly conducted by the combined armed forces of the United States was quite a spectacle, and very moving too, in a kitschy sort of way. True, as head of the American state entity, Mr. Ford was technically commander-in-chief, and he was also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, so I guess he's entitled to it all. But upon further consideration, all of that seems kind of ostentatious and expensive just to bury one dead guy, but hey, it's just taxpayers' money, eh? And that, my friends, as we all know well enough by now, flows as easy as warm water through the hands of the politicians in America; especially so if it's spent on a nice send-off for one of their own.
Well I was never POTUS, but I was an officer in the U.S. Army, and I served in combat too, albeit briefly. However, I have also made it clearly known to my family and friends, and it is explicitly so-stated in my will that, although I am entitled to them, I wish no military honors at my funeral, nor do I wish to be buried in a military cemetery. The only codicil that I have included is if I die destitute, and there is no other means available to put me down. And I only included that exception because I don't want my children or family to have to borrow money or tap into their savings to pay for it all. It isn't what I want, but I can 'live with it' so to speak, because I'll be dead, right?
The time I spent making war on Iraq in 1991 while in the Army wasn't spent defending my country, liberating an invaded state, spreading freedom and democracy, or anything else that was valuable, noble or in any way beneficial to the American people, myself, or humanity in general. Nada, zero, zip. I remember with fondness some of my fellow soldiers and some of the people I met while 'serving,' however. I don't regret any of that, but I don't feel this entitles me to force the tax donors of the American state to pay for my burial. Why should they? Because of my government service? Baloney! They don't give 21 gun salutes to deceased mailmen, IRS auditors or Bureau of Land Management flunkies, do they? I don't deserve this benefit (paid for with stolen money to boot), and don't want it either, whether I'm legally entitled to it or not. If you care about me, come to the service and burial, or send flowers if you want, but don't steal money from others to put me in the ground. And don't sweat it or feel guilty about just blowing it all off, either; I won't care, trust me.
And the same goes for the late Mr. Ford, and all the other ex-POTUS' that will all eventually die too. Why should all of us pay for lavish and expensive state funerals for the same people, who while living, breathing, active politicians, were excoriating and smearing each other with their every breath? Then, they all leave office, write their memoirs, make money giving paid speeches, and then eventually, die. Suddenly they're statesman and patriots! And so we now must spend millions to plant 'em in the ground? Go figure. Even a low-life scoundrel like Richard Nixon received this treatment, too. If I remember my history, Nixon left office one step ahead of impeachment proceedings and needed a pardon from his successor, Mr. Ford, to remain at liberty instead of having to go to prison or flee into exile. If ex-government creeps like Nixon can receive full honors, if war criminals like Henry Kissinger or Donald Rumsfeld can receive the Medal of Freedom [sic], and lesser, but no less vile, state minions like Ruby Ridge murderer and FBI agent Lon Horiuchi are also deemed worthy of such 'honors' as the state may deem appropriate, then the concept of honor itself has been perverted and twisted to such an extent that the notion of honor itself is meaningless. As are state entities too, for that matter. So I'll take a pass on my 'full military honors' from the state, if it's all the same with you.
How about this alternative? The next ex-POTUS, Supreme Court Justice, or other high ex-government mucky-muck who croaks should be buried in a plain aluminum G.I.-issue casket, like the Iraqi war dead come home in, with only a simple graveside service, and which these financially well-off bigshots can easily afford to pay for themselves. That's all a Marine private or Army corporal gets, and it should be enough for them too. And then put the savings from this economy toward the care of the maimed and crippled young men and women that these noble statesmen sent into harm's way for their own self-serving and evil motives. Some 22,565 as this is written.
I don't want any honors such as the state might bestow upon me. A 21 year-old ex-soldier or Marine, with no legs or eyes, or who has massive burns over his body could probably use the money and honors more than I can. After all, as I said before, when the time comes, I won't care.