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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Ceremony, Pomp, and Circumstances

I was working out on the elliptical trainer at Ballys and one of the TVs had Pres. Reagan's procession in L.A. Another TV was blathering about something else. Luckily Channel 6 can be heard on the radio (88.7 FM in case you're interested) and I turned my walkman to it. In some ways I didn't need to listen to Peter Jennings blather. The images said it all: Air Force One sitting on the tarmac (okay Special Air Missions 28000 as the plane is only AF1 when carrying the current President), the long line of cars following the hearse, Marine Corp band on one side, military honor guards on the other, a huge crowd behind a barricade.

As the hearse parked the band played 'Hail To The Chief.' I found that odd at first and interesting. The song simply sounds happy to me. Such a disconcerting feeling. But the song honors the man in the flag draped casket. As the casket was carried by the honor guard, the Marines played 'Amazing Grace.' The tubas provided such profound bass to the chords, the rest of the low brass added to the harmony. You would have though the strength of those chords alone could have transported the casket to the plane.

Just before typing this I turned on the TV to channel surf. C-SPAN is showing the procession of people walk by Pres. Reagan's flag draped casket. Members of all five military branches (bet you forgot about the U.S. Coast Guard) are providing the honor guard as the face in towards the casket. It was weird to see the same image on Fox News. I went back to C-SPAN for a few minutes to watch. All that I could hear was an occasional squeak of a shoe on the highly polished, marble floor. No talking heads to discuss things; the silence of the images were enough.

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