Friday, March 11, 2011
Honor and Shame
Frank Buckles, America's last Dough Boy died as he had lived, with honor.
Frank died at an age considered surreal by most, yet he lived a full life and if he had any regrets he never voiced them publicly. Frank died an honorable man because he had given honor to so many others while never seeking any personal honor for himself. And in so doing in the end, he received back that which can only be freely given by the American people. Their honor and respect.
Prior to his death, Frank was recognized by the people of his state, with letters of testimonial and after his passing, with resolutions in the US House of Representatives. Each of these accolades were seeking to bestow the honor of allowing Frank's body to lie in honor in our nation's Capitol rotunda after his passing.
A profound yet truly simple honor justly befitting the life of a man who spent the last years of his life trying to be the representative of a lost generation. Frank Buckles didn't seek out any honor or glory in his latter years, but when the mantel of responsibility fell to him, to be the voice of those who could no longer speak, Frank recognized the duty of being the last and gladly accepted the responsibility as their standard bearer.
Frank Buckles spent the last years of his life seeking to obtain recognition and tribute for the over four million others who served during the great war and to this day have never been recognized with a national monument in their honor. When told of the desires and requests of senators and others, both from his home state and across the nation, to bestow the honor of a Capitol rotunda viewing of his remains after death, Frank's only concern was that it be represented as a tribute not to him, but to his comrades in arms as their representative.
However, that honor would not be granted. For those who hold the power in Washington, voiced their objections quickly after Frank's passing. Speaker of the House John Boehner asserted almost immediately after Frank Buckles death, that Frank's contributions to posterity as the last of the last didn't warrant such an honor in Speaker Boehner's esteemed estimation.
Other arrangements for Frank Buckles final honors were requested by Speaker Boehner. Tentatively an alternative repose would be scheduled at Arlington National Cemetery at the request of Speaker Boehner and others to the Secretary of Defense. According to these esteemed representatives of the house and senate, their request of Secretary Gates would be a ceremony equally fitting of the recognition that they felt Mr. Buckles life warranted.
Some have tried to take Frank Buckles' honor and they tried to take it by withholding an honor that they know he and those he represented justly deserved. However, they succeeded on only one level. They succeeded in denying Frank Buckles that which he deserved, but they didn't succeed in diminishing or taking away his own personal honor.
Just as with respect, trust and admiration, honor is not something that can easily be taken or bartered away by those who have little conceptualization of their true meaning. These intangibles can only be given freely of others. Each title holds the unique ability to both bestow and evoke heart felt emotion on the person so chosen to be honored, yet each of these honors can just as easily be stripped from those who seek to deny them of others by their own selfish actions.
Speaker Boehner may have deprived Frank Buckles of his final and justly deserved honor, but he can never take away Frank Buckles personal honor as a man and as a fitting representative of all who served this nation so long ago. Nor can he take away or diminish the true heart felt thanks of those Americans who appreciate Frank Buckles' sacrifices and those of his generation.
Frank Buckles will be laid to rest on March 15th at Arlington National cemetery. An honor bestowed upon Frank by former President George W. Bush. Frank's final honors will reportedly be, that his body will lie in off site repose and visitation at a private chapel on Sunday and Monday March 13th and 14th in Washington DC per the wishes of his family. On March 15th for six hours prior to his burial, Frank Buckles remains will lie in repose in the Arlington chapel, below the Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheater.
Frank Buckles lived the life of an honorable man and in death his own personal honor and esteem continues to speak to those of us who can only bestow our respect and appreciation for his life via our thoughts and prayers.
Frank Buckles is at his final reward now and resting with those 4.7 million others who have gone before him. He now rests in the company of angels and comrades.
Others are left to live with their own shame......
Author Prime at 9:47 PM