Friday, May 9, 2008

"Insensitive and entirely inappropriate for the dignified treatment of our fallen"

Those are the words of Pentagon Press Secretary, Geoff Morrell, describing Robert Gates' thoughts at revelations that some US soldiers were cremated at a commercial facility that cremated both human remains and pet remains. Morrell went on to say: "... the secretary believes that it is inappropriate, even if though permissible under the rules, to cremate our fallen, our heroes in a facility that also cremates pets," he said.

According to the Defense department, human remains and pet remains were handled in differen locations, just at the same facility. And the soldiers' remains were never misstreated.

Are we romanticizing the notion of human remains? Well, let me rephrase that a bit. Clearly we are romantacizing the notion of human remains ... but are we romantacizing it more than is appropriate? I'm a little shocked by the immediate and dramatic reaction to this story by the Defense department, although I guess that's the world of politics. Would you be okay with someone you love being cremated at a facility that also handles pet remains? I guess my vote is yes.


Michael said...

I'm not sure. I feel that for the person that has passed, their bodily remains are of no importance any longer. It seems that the ceremonial manner in which a loved one's remains are handled is entirely for the benefit of those they've left behind. I don't think that I'd want a loved one's body being cremated at a facility that deals with human and animal remains.

Anonymous said...

I love my pets and I would be honored to be place with such loving creatures such as dogs. Our DNA is very similar to wolf DNA, so at a cellular level we are all just mammals.
But I do agree with michael about it being for the benefit of those left behind. I mean isn't that why we have funerals, and open caskets. SO the ones left behind can cope, like the dogs sniffing dead dogs to except the death of a pack member. I had to touch my grandpa's cold face to except his death.
I wouldn't care about being burned with animals.
My husband, who is Japanese, is grossed out about the way we bury the dead. How at my grandpa's funeral we walked on top of other people's loved ones. I've been to Japan for New years day, and we all drove out to Shogo's grandfather's(all kodama's) grave, cleaned it with hot water and cleared all the weeds. Then we go to his grandfather's favorite place to eat. Apparently Shogo informed me that when I die because I am Kodama I am going to have my ashes delivered to Japan to join the other Kodamas. I think that is weeeiiirrrrddd I am going to be barried with people I don't know! What if they hate me!