[UPDATED:] Press reports this evening indicate that Senator Harry Reid is siding with John Boehner on this. The post has been updated to reflect that.I think Speaker John Boehner and Harry Reid are making a terrible mistake.The Speaker’s Office and the Senate Majority Leader are blocking a request
that Frank Buckles be allowed to lie in state (or in honor as the case may be) in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.Frank Buckles is not just anybody. I agree that we should not let just anybody lie in state in the rotunda. I totally understand Harry Reid and John Boehner’s reasoning. The right should be reserved for a very special few. While I understand his reasoning, I think the last of the WWI and the last of the WWII servicemen should be given the honor.Frank Buckles is not just a special few. He is the last of his kind. The very last.Precisely 4,734,991 Americans served in World War I. Frank Buckles was the last of them to die. He lied to get into the Army at age 16 so he could fight the Kaiser. He is the last of a generation of Americans who heard the calling for freedom in a way other did not and rose up to fight.He is the last of those men and boys who fought under an American flag across an ocean in a land most had never been who did so not because we were attacked or brought into a war, as we were in World War II, but because they heard the call of freedom in the first great war.He, as the last of the embodiment of the men and boys who heard that first call for freedom across the seas, deserves to lie in the Rotunda.The Speaker may be reached at (202) 225-0600. Harry Reid may be reached at (202) 224-3542.