Mickey Kaus calls it 'under news', and who knows how much influence it has. This showed up in my inbox today:
There has been a change in U.S. military burial protocol!
This is a letter that my good friend's husband wrote today
after his uncle's funeral yesterday. If Obama does not want his name
associated with our military, he does not deserve to be "The President of the United States " ... [NAME REMOVED]
REMEMBER THIS on NOVEMBER 6, 2012
Today I was incensed at the conclusion of a traditional
Serbian-Orthodox funeral for my beloved 85-year-old uncle, Daniel
Martich, who proudly served in the US Army during the Korean conflict. During the committal service at a Pittsburgh cemetery the local military detachment performed their ritual, then folded and presented the American Flag to my aunt.
As I'm sure you have witnessed during military funerals, a
soldier bends to one knee and recites a scripted message to a
surviving relative that begins 'On behalf of the President of the
United States and a grateful nation, I wish to present you with this
flag in appreciation for your husband's service ...'
However, today the dialogue was 'On behalf of the Secretary of
Defense and a grateful nation...'
After the service, I approached the soldier who presented the
flag to my aunt to inquire about the change in language. His response
was: "The White House notified all military funeral service
detachments to immediately remove 'the President' and insert 'the
Secretary of Defense'.
I couldn't believe what I heard! The soldier just smiled and
said, "You can draw your own conclusion, Sir, but that was the order".
He, too, was ashamed of what he was required to say.
Obama has taken off the gloves. My only response to this
endless cesspool of anti-American rhetoric dripping from his mouth is
to borrow a phrase "with one minor change" uttered by another
temporary Washington resident living in government housing (his
wife!): "Today for the first time in my adult life, I am ashamed of
the current U.S. President!"
I did not serve in the military but my love of country
parallels that of people like my late uncle who bled red, white and
blue. As a second generation Serbian-American who's heritage produced
many patriotic military men and women who fought for freedom both in
the United States as well as in the former Yugoslavia (most recently
in Kosovo against the slaughter of Serbs by Muslim extremists), I
implore you to make the American people aware of this little-known or,
at least, publicly acknowledged fact.
May God Bless you and your family during these difficult
times. Your voice of reason is a welcome change from the insanity
plastered across the country by the liberal media. Keep up the great
work and thank you for your service to our country.
John G. Martich
PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO FRIENDS
AND REMEMBER 2012
IS TIME FOR A NEW PRESIDENT
AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF
You may be wondering: Is any of this true? Short answer: No.
Maj. Monica Matoush, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department, told us that no change has been ordered. “While there have been some inconsistencies at the unit level in reciting the appropriate verbiage, neither the Department of Defense nor the services have received, published or directed any recent change,” Matoush said.
She explained that each branch of the armed forces is responsible for coming up with its own protocol, including suggested statements to be made when presenting a burial flag to the next of kin. That guidance is usually made available in a manual on drills and ceremonies provided by each individual branch, she added. But “there is no [Department of Defense] standardized verbiage to accompany a flag presentation for a veteran buried with military funeral honors,” she said.
Some people very well may have witnessed a soldier bending to one knee and reciting a message that begins “on behalf of the president of the United States and a grateful nation,” as the email claims. That’s because some branches of the military do suggest that their servicemembers present the flag that way. But not all branches of the military suggest mentioning the president.
A Marine Corps order (MCO 3040.4) dated March 1, 2011, states that when presenting the flag, casualty assistance officers may say: “On behalf of the President Of the United States, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation of your (relationship) service to Country and Corps.” That’s an alternate suggestion from the Marine Corps manual on drills and ceremonies (paragraph 25006), which suggests a statement such as: “On behalf of the President, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Marines everywhere, please accept this flag in memory of the honorable and faithful service performed by (relationship).”
However, the manual that the Navy’s ceremonial units currently go by (NAVPERS 15555D) includes “sample wording” that says: “On behalf of a grateful nation and a proud Navy, I present this flag to you in recognition of your (relationship)’s years of honorable and faithful service to his/her country.” Cullen James, a Navy Personnel Command spokesman, said that an updated manual is in the works, but that no one has been instructed to not bring up the president. “Ceremonial teams may be using different language,” he said, but “there is no direction to not say ‘on behalf of the president.’ ”
And the Army’s field manual on drills and ceremonies (FM 3-21.5) does not specifically mention referencing the president during the presentation either. In chapter 14, section 5, paragraph (r) and chapter 14, section 6, paragraph (d), the Army field manual suggests that the officer presenting the flag say something like: “Sir/Ma’am, this flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation as an expression of appreciation for the honorable and faithful service rendered by your loved one.” The Army’s suggested wording is particularly noteworthy since, according to the email, the funeral service was for an Army veteran.
Joe Davis, director of public affairs for Veterans of Foreign Wars, said that the organization had also received the email several times. While unsure of the email’s origin, Davis said that “its message is false.”
One sad note. The misuse of the word "verbiage" (often mispronounced "verbage") to mean "wording" seems, alas, to be accelerating among public-relations professionals.