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11/09/2003 Entry: "Dover, DE 19901"

Dover is about 30 miles away from my house, but it's in a direction I seldom travel, so I don't see it much. It's a small city dominated by a couple of big things. The state government is there. There's an enormous racetrack where they have Nascar races. And there's Dover Air Force Base.

Route 13 is the main north-south road through Dover. Now there are bypasses around the city, but it used to run right through town, and right through the air base. On your right, going south, were endless acres of military housing, and on the left were the planes, huge C-5s sitting there, the biggest airplane you can imagine. Once in a while one would take off and wallow through the air above you, almost close enough to touch, close enough to cast a big shadow.

And there's that other hangar, the big one back behind the planes: the world's biggest refrigerated mortuary.

This is where dead servicepeople come home. Sometimes others end up there, but mostly it's military dead. They get unloaded into the mortuary, where the military undertakers get busy and prepare them to be shipped home.

What it means to Dover is that you see an awful lot of trucks from casket companies in Dover as they deliver their wares to the air base. And that there were frequent traffic jams near the airport, because the President would come in to see the troops come home, either by helicopter or (a total nightmare in a congested city) by motorcade.

It doesn't happen now, which is a better thing for Dover's traffic, I guess. It doesn't happen because George W. Bush hasn't been to the Dover mortuary since - well, since when? I looked it up. The only time he's been to Dover is when he was campaigning in 2000. He's never been to the mortuary. Never. As has been documented, this administration has forbidden media coverage of the return of dead troops to the united states, so they come in in the middle of the night, and they get shipped out in the dark, and that's all there is to it. The mortuary personnel work nights now.

I guess George W. Bush is doing what I do so much now: chanting 'this isn't happening, it isn't happening' like a mantra. Unlike me, he has the power to conceal what he doesn't want to see. But he can't disappear it all. The casket trucks still roll in the delivery gates of the air base, and the people who work in that giant refrigerated hangar get up in the dark to go to work.

Posted by Lynn Loper

 

 

 

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