The TexasFred Blog
News Opinion Commentary

Rotunda Honor Is Blocked for World War I Veteran

March 8th, 2011 . by TexasFred

Rotunda Honor Is Blocked for World War I Veteran

WASHINGTON — Former presidents always make the cut. Ballplayers, never. Senators are case by case.

The question of who, once dead, will lie in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol is one that rises rarely and usually without the gossamer of political controversy. But the family of the oldest American World War I veteran, who died last month at 110, has been rebuffed by the leaders of the House and Senate, who have moved to deny the late soldier his day under the dome.

The family of the veteran, Frank Buckles, assisted by lawmakers from his home state, West Virginia, keep pressing on. Their desire to see Mr. Buckles lie in honor — only federal officials or military officers lie in state in the Rotunda — is not just about him, they insist, but his fellow doughboys, now committed to history books and fading photos.

“The family has not had any confirmation, either official or unofficial, as to whether it will be possible for Mr. Buckles to lie in honor to provide a venue for recognition of all of the American World War I veterans,�? David DeJonge, a spokesman for the family, said Monday in an e-mail. “It is still their wish that this take place in the Rotunda, an appropriate setting given the momentous nature of the passing of the last service member from that war.�?

Full Story Here:
Rotunda Honor Is Blocked for World War I Veteran

I didn’t know Mr. Frank Buckles. I am ashamed to say, I didn’t even know who he was, or what he was, or had done and what he represented, until after he was dead and gone. That is MY loss.

To deny this gentleman the HONOR of of lying in state is a travesty in my opinion.

For most federal officeholders, lying in state is the rare honor granted by the United States to a deceased official wherein his or her remains are placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., for public viewing. The casket is guarded by members of the armed forces. By regulation and custom, only Presidents, military commanders, and members of Congress are granted the honor of lying in state. Except for Presidents and former Presidents, the honor is not automatic. Not all those entitled to the honor accept it, however. The first leader to receive this honor was former Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay when he died in 1852. Since then, the honor has been extended to 31 people, including 11 Presidents. SOURCE

Granted, Mr. Buckles was not a military commander, a former president, Senator or Congressman. Mr. Buckles was much more important than that. He was the last surviving American Veteran of World War I. That is an accomplishment that needs to be honored in every way America has to honor Her Veterans.

Frank Buckles, the last American veteran of World War I, died last month at age 110, and now a controversy is brewing over the location of his memorial ceremony. His family had hoped that he would be remembered with a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in honor of all World War veterans, however Speaker Boehner has decided an honors burial at Arlington National Ceremony would be more appropriate. SOURCE

I have to agree with Speaker Boehner on part of this, an honors burial at Arlington National Ceremony is very appropriate, but John Boehner has done a huge disservice to this nation, the memories of deceased soldiers of World War I, their families, and to the last man standing, Mr. Frank Buckles.

From the original story:

The speaker of House, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and the majority leader in the Senate, who together rule the Rotunda, have denied the request without specific explanation, perhaps mindful that the honor has been given to only 30 people since the remains of Senator Henry Clay graced the elaborate setting in 1852. They have suggested instead that there be a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, a high honor not afforded to every veteran.

“Everyone honors Mr. Buckles’s service to our country, and the extraordinary sacrifices made by every member of our Armed Forces who served in World War I,�? said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner.

I hope the voters of Ohio and Nevada will remember lack of HONOR that has been shown to Mr. Frank Buckles by 2 men of NO honor.

Harry Reid doesn’t surprise me in his actions regarding Buckles and lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Reid is a despicable libber and has NO concept of the sacrifices men of Frank Buckles generation made to further the cause of freedom.

John Boehner has seriously disappointed me. I expected much more of a man of his assumed character. Apparently, I was wrong in my assumptions.

Public viewings in the Rotunda have largely been limited to elected officials and distinguished military figures — including 11 presidents — but some exceptions have been made. In 1998, coffins of two Capitol Police officers who died in the line of duty were on display in the Rotunda; Rosa Parks was the third private citizen to lie in honor in the revered spot, in 2005. Mr. Buckles did not see combat; he drove a motorcycle with a sidecar in England, and an ambulance in France. He also escorted German prisoners of war from France to Germany after the war, Mr. DeJonge said.

Rosa Parks was allowed the honor of lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda.

Not to denigrate Ms. Parks, but all she did was refuse to give her bus seat to a WHITE man. A noble gesture indeed, but you would think that the death of the last surviving soldier of the First World War would have been an even more fitting reason to afford this honor.

Given the politically correct climate of today, I guess not.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Bookmark and Share

Return: Top of Home Page

10 Responses to “Rotunda Honor Is Blocked for World War I Veteran”

  1. comment number 1 by: GM Roper

    I’m having a hard time believing that Boehner said no. What a disgrace that is.

    I agree Fred, as the LAST World War I veteran, it should have been automatic.

  2. comment number 2 by: TexasFred

    GM — I’m starting to wonder if Boehner is the MAN we hoped him to be…

  3. comment number 3 by: GM Roper

    That makes two of us Fred… Unfortunately, neither you nor I can vote the sob out unless we move to OHIO and I’m not willing to freeze my ass off even for him. :)

  4. comment number 4 by: GM Roper

    On the other hand, he has to be overall better than the wicked witch of the west Nancy P.

  5. comment number 5 by: TexasFred

    GM — A bucket of dog crap would be better than Pelosi… But, once again, we *may* be suffering through the *lesser of the evils*…

  6. comment number 6 by: ozarkguru

    Seldom do I do this — But this time I must disagree.

    I paid tribute to Veteran Frank Buckles on the ARRA News Service a week ago today. But being the last living American WWI veteran does not qualify him for special honors at the US Capitol. I know many friends whose sacrificed life and limb and have not or will never be so honored. How about our MOH winners? But as determined in the past, lying in State is not normally done for military but they are honored at the graveside.

    Buckles family was offered special honors at Arlington military cemetery.

    I would guess that if Mr. Buckles were alive and mentally alert, he would have been very pleased to state that he would be honored to be honored where his former and latter comrades rest — those who never had the opportunity to LIVE long lives.

    As for Rosa Parks, she was one tough lady but her being honored in the US Capital was not appropriate and one mistake does justify others to have this honor. But her situation occurred under pressure of political correctness and in reaction to the previous sanctioned mistreatment of fellow Americans which she stood alone against at risk to her life.

    Castigating Speaker Boehner over this decision is not even appropriate. The question by the family should never been asked. Boehner has enough on his plate standing against the progressive liberal controlled Senate and White house. I am sure that the progressives would love us to to see criticism of the Speaker over such a petty thing. Division over things like this is like is a freebie for liberals.

    For with many of us from the second forgotten War (Vietnam) [The first being the Korean "Conflict"], I get rather tired of previous vets saying they were in a “real” war and somehow our war or service was not as important or that military service in any form can be ignored. I know many living WWII vets who never left the US or did not see conflict.

    Their words are even more evident by the votes of WWII vets at National AM Legion and VFW meetings blocking veterans from membership in their organizations. Congress will approve anything these orgs wish as to membership. But they continue to deny membership to many of our comrades in arms. And yes, I am a member but this needs to be challenged and changed.

    Respectfully expressed.
    God bless our troops veterans [barring John Kerry] where every they serve, live, die or are buried.

  7. comment number 7 by: TexasFred

    Guru — On this point we will have to agree to disagree…

    Petty things? Seriously?

    It may not be a big thing to you, and that’s OK, and it WAS wrong for Rosa Parks to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, but Frank Buckles was the LAST of an entire generation, a generation that is now extinct…

    Petty? I think not…

    You also mention MoH winners, yes, they are indeed, and rightfully deserving of high honor, but they are not the last of a generation… As long as we have a Medal of Honor we will have MoH winners, living and deceased…But unless we find a way to end ALL wars they are NOT going to be the last in ANY case…

    And IF that glorious time should occur, IF war is eliminated, then the last living MoH winner should be honored by lying in state at the Capitol when he/she passes…

  8. comment number 8 by: Always On Watch

    I knew who Buckles was because, not so long ago, the WaPo, liberal rag that it is, did a feature story on him.

    He should clearly be granted the privilege of lying in state in the Rotunda. Our WWI servicemen have always been special to me as my favorite great-uncle, more like a grandfather in my life, was one who served in WWI. I’ve never known a stronger patriot!

  9. comment number 9 by: cary

    By the rules, no, he doesn’t qualify.

    But, since the rules were bent by the lib/left/prog for their hero Parks, then the lib/left/progs shouldn’t be standing in the way of Buckles being honored in this way. However, since it is the lib/left/progs we are dealing with here, their double standard will be applied and this man will not be honored as the representative of the WWI vets that he was.

    (which, actually, disturbs me on another front - Buckles lied to get to do something he wanted, wouldn’t that make him a lib/left/prog hero, too?)

  10. comment number 10 by: BobF

    This man is the last of those who answered the call to defend this nation in WWI. As an honor to all who served and answered the call in that war, he should lie in honor in the Rotunda. The same honor should be accorded to the last survivor of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, and our current war. This should be done as an honor to all who served in those wars.

You must be logged in to post a comment.