The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Pilot deserves exception from Arlington National Cemetery’s rules

When Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame III’s life was cut short on Sept. 11, his family must have known they would have a hard time dealing with his death.

But now Burlingame’s family is having to duel with Army officials over the man’s right to a burial plot at Arlington National Cemetery.

Burlingame, a pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, was reportedly pummeled to death before the plane crashed into the Pentagon, essentially making him one of the first casualties of the war.

But the criteria for burial at the country’s most famous cemetery is strict. Burlingame had served eight years as a Navy pilot and was a 17-year member of the Naval Reserves. Retired reservists must be 60 years old before they’re eligible for burial at the cemetery. Burlingame would have turned 52 on Sept. 12.

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In what they called a compromise, Army officials said Burlingame would be buried at his parents’ site in the cemetery.

But why the Army is denying Burlingame is hard to understand.

The cemetery justifiably has strict criteria for burial, but the uniqueness of this case calls for sensible reasoning – Burlingame deserves his own plot.

Virginia Sen. George Allen asked President Bush to submit a waiver that would allow Burlingame his own burial plot. The only other way Burlingame’s family could win the dispute (save for the Army reversing its decision) is through legislation, which is actually gaining some support.

Hopefully someone will step to the plate and give Burlingame the honor he deserves.

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Pilot deserves exception from Arlington National Cemetery’s rules