Tuesday, August 23, 2005
What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?
[[O P P O R T U N I S M]] * Sorry, the choice isn’t really up to you. Not if you happen to be a soldier killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan. According to the Associated Press, “nearly all” of the latest government-furnished gravestones being mounted atop the last resting places of the military dead at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington, D.C., are being “inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts”--“Operation Enduring Freedom” or “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Although the families of the men and women being buried are supposed to have final say over what the markers read, “[t]hat hasn’t always happened,” the AP reports. This practice is a break from tradition (which called for inscribing the stones only with the name of the war in which the troops died--World War II, Vietnam, Korea, etc.), and it isn’t sitting well with some relatives of the soldiers; nor, it seems, is the owner of the company that’s been making the tombstones for Arlington and other national cemeteries overjoyed with the new procedure. “It just seems a little brazen that that’s put on stones,” says Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. “It seems like it might be connected to politics.” Leave it to the Bush administration to come up with a self-serving war-promotion scheme of such crass proportions.