“Taps” or Just Tapped Out

military-cemetary-soldier-playing-tapsIn a recent column by Bill McClellan in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he suggested, as a way to cut government spending, that we eliminate military funerals for all veterans except for those who died in combat.  He states that buglers who play “Taps” make $24.50 per service and, although, not excessive, the government is just “tapped out” and needs to cut spending.

I saw an interview with Mr. McClellan and Laura Ingraham and he seems like a nice enough fellow.  He served his country during the Vietnam War, and for that, I thank him for his service.  But, as he wrote in his column, “most veterans did nothing heroic” and, as far as he was concerned, the country paid him back with the college education he derived from the G.I. Bill.  His solution for the fiscal problem was that if a veteran wished to have a military funeral, he should join a veterans’ association and let the association provide military honors at the funerals of their members.

I would have to disagree with Mr. McClellan on two points.  First, I question his definition of “heroism” and the second, I don’t agree with him about the government expenditure for military funerals.

I don’t know whether Mr. McClellan was drafted or enlisted.  If he was drafted, (and if my memory serves me well) he could’ve gone to Canada, he could’ve gotten a student deferment, he could’ve feigned or overstated a medical problem, he could’ve gotten married, or he could’ve applied for a job in an “essential” civilian occupation.

On the other hand, if he enlisted, as our current men and women in the military have done, he made a deliberate decision to serve his country.

In either case, being drafted or having enlisted, anyone who serves in our military is a hero.  Women who enlisted in the Marine Corps during WWII were never in combat but held vital jobs behind the scenes such as radio operators, parachute riggers, drivers, cooks, bakers, auto mechanics, etc., all jobs that would’ve had to have been filled by men, thereby reducing the number of combat troops.  The same probably holds true today.  To say that any person who wears a military uniform in this country is not a hero is a misjudgment.

Getting out alive doesn’t make one less of a hero than someone who died on the battlefield.  The sacrifice is different, but sacrifice, in whatever form, should still be honored and revered.

Anyone who puts on a uniform with the potential of being in harm’s way in order to protect the interests of our country and we, its people, is a hero to me, including Mr. McClellan, even if he doesn’t see himself as one.

On the second point, fiscal responsibility, anyone who’s read my articles knows how crazy I get about government waste.  Providing military funerals for all our veterans is not an item I would eliminate from our balance sheet.

Today, when our government is hemorrhaging money in handouts to people who give back absolutely nothing to America and are not required to account for it (e.g., no drug testing required for welfare) or even perform community service or some type of volunteer work in exchange for those handouts, I have a real problem with people who think that our military’s men and women should not be accorded a military funeral.  Whatever the cost of the bugler, or any other expense attributable to the military funeral, should be gladly paid by the taxpayer with a smile and a big “thank you!”

I’m not at all interested in teaching Moroccans how to make pottery at a cost of $27 million, or spending $1.5 million to find out why some women homosexuals are fat while homosexual males are not, or spending $325,000 to build a robotic squirrel or $682,750 to study shrimp on a treadmill.  There’s plenty of room for government to cut back, including footing a $585,000 bill for Joe Biden’s recent one-night-stay in Paris.  Cutting back military honors for our veterans is not one of them.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Ron F

    I would not cut military funerals for not combat veterans. The veterans still served their country. In addition, this is one of the few items in the budget that I think are legitimate federal expenditures. Not all programs are equal. Some are legitimate federal functions and some are not. When President Obama had the news conference about the sequester surrounded by police officers and teachers and said how many would lose their jobs, I wish one reporter would have asked what the federal government is doing hiring or providing funds for the hiring of local police officers and teachers. On the other hand, the amount of money the fact that some expenditure is not great does not mean it should not be cut. I think Ronald Reagan said that a million here and a million there and pretty soon your are talking about serious money. Luckily, I do not think anyone took Mr. McClellan’s suggestion seriously.

  • Debdeb

    Good article. Both my dad and grandfather had taps played at their funerals. Neither died in combat although my dad came about as close as possible. I do not have enough words to convey how significant it was to have the taps. The military knows the head count of its members. Why doesn’t the government plan ahead and budget for this activity? Its cheaper than a pension plan.

  • jmiky

    Leona I couldn’t agree more. Honoring veterans not only honors the dead but comforts the families as well. As a member of a volunteer honor guard it also reminds me what our country is all about. Especially poignant is honoring a homeless or indigent vet who has no one to mourn him/her. I urge all vets to contact a veterans service organization to see if they need help. As ww2 and Korean and Vietnam vets grow older and leave this world, and with a volunteer force in place, less than 1% of Americans serve we need to take care of our brothers and sisters in arms. The Lord knows the liberals won’t do it. Semper Fidelis. USMC 74-78

  • Roger Ward

    Of course, you’re right, Leona. Eliminating military funerals to save money is a mere pittance, particularly when one considers the huge amounts lost to waste and fraud and all the exorbitant costs that come with this imperial presidency. Whether a veteran died in combat or dies in a nursing home, he or she is owed a military funeral at taxpayer expense. A military funeral should be an entitlement, at least as important as food stamps, tax credits for “green” projects, and research into snail darters. If Biden had cancelled his trip altogether, there would be enough savings for five hundred years of morally obligated military funerals. (Exactly what did Biden accomplish on that trip, anyway?)