This week, America and the world, witnessed a lavish funereal tribute, as historically and traditionally appropriate, regarding the decease of a past President of the United States. The deceased President, George H.W. Bush, ( Bush “Sr,”) will be especially remembered for his dedicated service to the nation, having, in his younger years, distinguished himself by his recognized, heroic military record , and thereafter, service as head of the C.I.A., prior to his term of office. as President of the United States.
The decorous and truly royal style of the dress- uniformed, military pomp and ceremony, appeared to rival even the royal splendor of an English Monarchical passing. The death, in addition to the natural grief caused to the family of the deceased President, is, intrinsically, a national event, hence the appropriateness of the extensive and dramatic ceremony. It needs remembering that the event celebrated the past public life of the deceased President, as well as a satisfied historical precedent. The event was a ceremonial “Shiva” for the benefit of all persons affected, in one fashion or another, in the American public, and, of course, much more importantly, recognized the private grief of his familial survivors.
In a nation which has legally and philosophically, dedicated itself to the reality of the established principle, first declared by our founders, that “all men are created equal” [equal at birth, i.e., no class distinctions] it unarguably follows, that all men are equal in death. The permanent and irreversible departure of a recognized and familiar presence in one’s life scene, is not only tragic, but truly disorienting; full adjustment, if possible, is eventual and requires a difficult flexible adjustment to reality.
In the usual situation, the decease of a loved one, is accorded the ceremonial trappings, customary to the religious or ethnic tradition, into which he was [fortuitously] born. In the case of all deceased private citizens, the pomp and ceremony, applicable to a Presidential funeral service, is not expected, necessary or appropriate. The publicly delivered eulogy concerning the deceased, in addition to acknowledging the fact of his death, will traditionally recount, to the attending mourners, as factually applicable, his positive acts and reverenced accomplishments attained during his lifetime.
It is heart- braking, in this note, on the sad, subject of mortality to include and embrace, the virtually countless, unidentified, or unaffiliated deaths, interred, without the benefit of ritual or ceremony, by the City of New York, at a site called “Hunt’s” island; in some literature, venues of this sort are referred to as “Potter’s” Field. Whoever these unmourned, non-celebrated remains of homo sapiens, may have been, we are obliged to acknowledge that they, at one time, enjoyed the identical nature-given spark which affords life and animation to all of humanity, from a publicly reverenced, deceased American President, to the unacknowledged and unceremonious remains of an unidentified pauper.