by Bob Ciminel
June 12, 2004
It was fitting that President Reagan's death preempted the celebration in Normandy because he also was a member of the Greatest Generation. I don't think the D-Day survivors begrudged the nation turning its eyes away from them to focus attention on America's 40th President. Besides, D-Day was a personal story; we cannot fathom what it was like to storm those beaches because we weren't there.
Did you notice how quickly the school of Piranha, which is the best analogy I can come up with to describe the media these days, swam from the coast of France to the coast of California? D-Day coverage was limited at best, but Ronald Reagan's death became a story requiring continuous coverage. D-Day was "interesting," but Ronald Reagan's passing was "news!"
However, there was one thing happening this past weekend that really disturbed me, and that was the launching of the U.S.S. Jimmy Carter. It irks me that the Navy named a nuclear submarine after Jimmy Carter. Everything the SSN-23 represents is anathema to Jimmy Carter. First, it is a warship; Jimmy Carter is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Second, it is nuclear powered; Jimmy Carter is anti-nuclear. Third, it carries nuclear weapons; Jimmy Carter supports total disarmament. The Navy should have named a hospital ship after Jimmy Carter.
However, let's not dwell on Jimmy Carter's new ship; today we are mourning Ronald Reagan.
Traffic was light coming in
to work Friday morning. All nonessential government personnel
are enjoying a paid holiday. I was at work so that my taxes
can help pay the salaries of all those government personnel who
received a three-day weekend. The last time I had a paid holiday
for a President's funeral was 31 years ago for President John
F. Kennedy's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. My former
Navy buddy, Bob Martin, and I hopped on a Chicago & Northwestern
commuter train at Great Lakes Naval Station in Waukegan, Illinois,
rode it into Chicago, found a great steakhouse, enjoyed a sumptuous
meal, and watched the funeral on television. I have no doubt
that many people did the same thing Friday. And I have no doubt
that Ronald Reagan would not wanted millions of government employees
taking the day off either.