Monday, September 5, 2005

Rehnquist: Once in a Lifetime

The Supreme Court has announced that funeral services will be held for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist Wednesday at St. Matthew's Cathedral. Burial will follow at Arlington National Cemetery. Sound familiar? Following the November 22, 1963 assassination of President Kennedy his body was housed in the Capitol rotunda, his funeral services were held at St. Matthew's Cathedral and he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

It is unbelievable to me that this is happening in my lifetime. Neither men knew each other, or one would assume, neither men were on the same end of the political spectrum, respectively, and yet both men I feel a certain amount of admiration and understanding for. I wasn't alive when Kennedy was killed, my parents were practically infants, and yet in my mind I feel like I was there. This time I will be watching closely as the American elite file into St. Matthew's and as three armed men give the highest and most respectful salute to Chief Justice Rehnquist at Arlington Wednesday afternoon.

Eleven, soon to be twelve, justices of the Supreme Court have been laid to rest at Arlington. Rehnquist will join his predecessors Chief Justice Earl Warren and Chief Justice Warren Burger. I have said it a hundred times before, but I truly believe that Arlington is one of a few sacred and honored places in America where true men and women of integrity, patriotism, and character are laid to rest. In my mind there is no higher honor than that which comes when one is given that burial right.

I'll be watching closely Wednesday as I know and history will tell, this is a once in a lifetime event. After Wednesday we'll begin to see the confirmation process in action as Bush has nominated John Roberts to the chief justice position. After Wednesday Washington will be business as usual. Politics as usual. But on Wednesday none of that will matter as the country carefully watches and mourns the passing of a true American patriot.

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