On Monday, I had the good luck to turn on the TV just as the flag-draped casket of the late President George H.W. Bush was just being removed from the Air Force One transport. Houston to Washington D.C. The formal celebration with all branches of the military service present was a true spectacle.
The entire program of Honor Guard at the airport, the motorcade to the capitol rotunda and the passage of the honored guests around the casket was so emotionally sensitive. With the three eulogies in the rotunda it was difficult to hold back tears. Mike Pence’s personal story of his receiving an autographed picture of his son who was on the carrier George H.W. Bush last summer gave him a real personal attachment to the former president.
It is unfortunate that these proceedings began after our schools had closed for the day because these would have been perfect opportunities for the school to encourage the students to watch the ceremonies. It is quite unusual at this time in history for there to be four living past presidents of the U.S. as well as the current president. That is the gift of modern medicine. What was most evident as everyone spoke of the deceased president was the decency, humility, kindness, great letter writing and as many speakers said, he was a great man.
These are the kinds of references to past presidents that our young teenagers need to hear spoken. All the teenagers of today have to know about our current president is his unpleasant language, his constant twitters, and his regular criticism of all those round him. The columnist Maureen Dowd stated on TV that G.H.W. Bush was taught not to use the word I in his writing. And she stated that all that our current president speaks of is “I.”
However, if the students were lucky on Wednesday morning, the schools might have allowed a half-day of school work to be missed in favor of watching the funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington. The majesty of the cathedral is worth the trip. The four men who spoke gave a wonderful combination of all of the positive attributes of the past president. Just watching that one broadcast would have given the most intuitive students an idea of the comparison between some of the different personality aspects of some of the most celebrated and loved presidents. The fun of viewing all the pomp and military parade formations and the band music would be enough for a young person to remember for many years.
This week in history has been very memorable because it is so seldom that we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to view presidential processions to the fullest extent of ceremony. The four current living past presidents are all still quite young, so it may well be a long number of years before we see another funeral pageant of such splendor. And my great thanks to station MSNBC for the entire two-plus hours for not interrupting for any commercials. They deserve great compliments for that kind of programming. It's memorable.
Marsha Holden; email@example.com