From a discussion I had on another list, updated:
>But what if this person hadn't been the football
>captain in high school? Or came from some poor
>community that couldn't afford such a show of
Chris Piper was 43, in a town where football has been a joke for so many years
that only people my age remember when it wasn’t. "Football captain" is one of those
factoids that impress the out-of-town media more than anyone in town.
The "rich town" didn’t put on Chris Piper’s funeral, either: the townies did.
They’re the people whose families have been here for 300 years. They don’t
live on the Neck and live off stock coupons. They fix cars, build and paint
houses, work for the town, run stores, and some still fish for a living:
THEY put the funeral on. I know far more about this than your media ever will,
because my wife is a town employee, and I hear what the media never hear.
I expect the VFW will be raising money for some of this soon, and although
I’m not fond of the VFW, I’ll pitch in.
There will be a benefit in September to pay for the festivities. I'm putting in my share,whether
I end up going or not. This may have been the "Townie's" last hurrah, but they did it with style.
The "rich town" of Marblehead still has the first dime of Federal money it ever received: they
wouldn't put on a funeral for God. When the rich of Marblehead hold a benefit
--when they have to--it's at the Boston or Corinthian Yacht Club, or over to Salem
at the Peabody-Essex Museum.
The benefit in honour of Chris Piper will be at the Gerry VFA. Out-of-towners never
heard of the Gerry. It's a concrete block building on the once-unfashionable West Shore.
Its abuttors are a grocery store to the south, and the town dump to the rear. The Gerry's
official reason for being is as home to one of Marblehead's two surviving hand-pumped
fire engines. In the old days, you were either "Gerry's" or "Oko's." (Oko's still exists, and
in its original engine house, but the Gerry has a dance floor and much better food).
The food, in fact, is as good or better than the yacht clubs'. The "residents" gravitate to
socials at the yacht clubs. You find the natives and Old Marbleheaders at the Gerry,
and social events that matter only to them are at the Gerry.
I went on, in that discussion:
It is in my mind that if you’re going to die, it’s good to be the first from
your town. When my friends came home in body bags many years ago, the caissons
and colour guards had grown a little stale. Some of them had been sports stars,
too, and just a couple of years earlier. It didn't help much. And just to keep
he record straight, I served in the Vietnam War. I can’t fully explain to you
the conflicted feelings that come from seeing this new generation get showered
with such praise. I'd prefer it if people could spare some of their outrage for the
fact that veterans must wait three years for VA medical treatment, if they get
it at all. I'd rather they could spare some change for places like the NE Shelter
for Homeless Veterans than spend it chasing religious nuts all over the landscape.
However, I know sick old men and women aren't as sexy a topic in this world
as dead young ones.
>These people are showing-up at military funerals all
>over the country. I understood they recently
>mobilized a fair large group at a funeral at
Arlington >National, and were so loud that the
occasionally >drowned-out the Chaplain, spewing their
hate at the >top of their lungs.
I heard this afternoon that every time this lot tried to do their shouting
act in Marblehead, the police bagpipe band broke into marches: the rich
people didn’t orchestrate that, either.... never...forget that veterans
are mere targets of opportunity for these people, which makes their
actions that much more revolting. If the administration were issuing
hunting licences for perverts ...which is pretty much what Westboro
Baptist wants...they wouldn’t have a word to say against
dead service personnel.
>I'm just hoping in this case, the veterans groups out
>there can mobilize to "take care of their own", and
>find a way to muzzle these people, whenever they
>show-up....you need people physically at the funerals
whenever >they happen. Veterans groups, with their
members >everywhere, have a much greater reach.
I still like >the idea of thinking of this as a form
of "Honor >Guard" for the veterans.
Part of me (my Dark Side) wants these people out there, sorry as I am
that they pollute families' sorrow....The more people have that experience,
the more they come face to face with the hate beneath the smooth slogans
against equality, and the better chance tolerance will have.
Nor do I think that traveling contingents of counter-demonstrators can
do anything but add fuel to the fire. What Marblehead did succeeded
because it came from the nearly-invisible heart of the town, driven by
the pride of ordinary people who happen to share their town with rich
people, and whose families happen to have lived here a very, very long time.
There were counter-demonstrators in Marblehead yesterday: bikers.It was
pointed out to them that they weren’t needed and, unlike the
Westboro baptists, they took the hint.
Now, that really is all I have to say about that.