Thursday, June 10, 2004

Enough already

I've ignored the pomp(osity) and circumstance as much as humanly possible, but there's no avoiding it altogether. As a former president, Reagan was entitled to a state funeral. Lying in state at the Capitol is fine (although appropriating Lincoln's catafalque is a bit much). But copying John F. Kennedy's funeral right down to the riderless horse and the planes in the "missing man" formation is just ridiculous.

Kennedy was a sitting president and commander-in-chief. The man was assassinated while in office -- you can make a good case that he died in the service of his country. Reagan had been out of the White House for 16 years -- but I guess Nancy was determined to stage one last Hollywood production. (Hell, maybe it is appropriate. Reagan wasn't really a president, but he played one on TV.)

In my view (and I'm certainly not alone in this perception), Franklin D. Roosevelt was America's greatest president. He led us out of the Depression, and he almost succeeded in seeing us through WWII before his strength gave out. Yet I'm reasonably certain that FDR's funeral was not as elaborate as this one. Eleanor Roosevelt was never pretentious.


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