John Boehner and Harry Reid are working to ensure that he is properly — highly — honored at Arlington. In a letter to Robert Gates, they ask:
[W]e respectfully request, in addition to his interment in Arlington Cemetery, that the remains of Corporal Frank Buckles, U.S. Army, August 1917-January 1920, be allowed to lie in honor for a period of time in the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater. . . .
Frank Buckles answered the call of duty to defend his country. He loved America and was assured of its ultimate victory. His contributions and sacrifice on behalf of the republic mark him as true patriot worthy of the hallowed grounds of Arlington.
I understand that everyone has their own ideas about what is a high honor, and that Buckles is the last World War I veteran we can send off with great ceremony and gratitude. I so wish there could be no controversy here. Arlington is a great honor, and I hate to see Arlington, and most especially Mr. Buckles, his life, and his service — along with that of his generation of military veterans — get mired in any controversy. It all seems so unfortunate and unnecessary.
Perhaps with an emphasis on the latter!