Caissons before clunkers?


Thanks to the Star Tribune, we may have something that liberals and conservatives and everyone in between can agree on.

The United States, for whom Cpl. Ben Kopp, 21, of Rosemount gave his life in Afghanistan, did not return the favor.

He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery but was denied the full honor of a military funeral because the cemetery only has two caissons and his family would’ve had to have waited two months for the closure of a funeral.

His mother called it “a slap in the face.”

The story was first reported by a columnist an upstate New York newspaper.

“It’s not a political thing. It’s a disgraceful thing,” said Greg Tobin, a retired cop who took up the Kopp family’s cause and alerted the various media. His son is an Army Ranger. “It’s about knowing my son could get killed and they’d want to put him away for six to eight weeks.”

“We do the best we can for each family,” said cemetery spokesman Dave Foster, who said providing a caisson for the Kopp family would have meant taking it away from the family of another veteran.

The government just helped thousands of people buy new cars, couldn’t they spare a few dollars for more caissons?

It hasn’t, apparently, spent that much on the few teams they do have. The Heinz Company donated some of the horses used now.

There are many seemingly insolvable problems facing the country. This isn’t one of them.

  • Bob Moffitt

    The Army unit that performs the ceremonies at Arlington Cemetary (the Old Guard) is a relatively small one, it’s based at Ft. Meyer, right next to the cemetary. They also guard the Tomb of the Unknowns and serve in various ceremonies in the DC Military District.

    The use of caissons (which are horse carts for hauling ammunition) in US military burials became more popular after JFK’s body was taken to Arlington on a caisson. While often used for Presidents and high-ranking officiers, even a former E-4 like myself could request one at Arlington.

    Interestingly, you can now follow TheOldGuard on Twitter.

    While Arlington is a beautiful (and sad) place, I think I will join my brothers and sisters a little closer to home, at Ft. Snelling.