I should stop being surprised by how often news stories crop up this year and wind up surprising me, but this one falls into that category. As I would hope all of you are long since aware, Arlington National Cemetary in Virginia is properly treated as holy ground. It contains the final resting places for countless veterans who have served our country, many having given the full, final measure. The problem is that they are rapidly running out of room for new interments. There are some proposals for expanding the site to accommodate this need in the future and hopefully, a resolution will be reached. But for the moment, space is growing tight.

That’s why there’s considerable controversy over a proposal currently under consideration that would expand the list of individuals who might qualify for burial there. One portion of the plan being considered by the Pentagon would limit burials to only certain categories of service members. But a separate change to the rules would allow some new people to have their graves established at Arlington. If enacted, all presidents and vice presidents would be eligible. Some are pointing the finger at Donald Trump as the driving force behind this, suggesting that he believes he should have a place reserved for him in that hallowed ground. (Daily Mail)

A Pentagon proposal to allow presidents and vice presidents who haven’t served in the military to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery has been blasted by veterans.

Some military members are expressing opposition to the potential plans, claiming it is an attempt by President Trump to ensure that he will be laid to rest at the famous cemetery when he eventually passes away.

Back in September, the Defense Department sought feedback on potential plans to restrict who could be buried at Arlington, saying that they were fast running out of space.

The White House has denied that President Trump was involved in creating this plan and the Pentagon confirmed that claim to the Wall Street Journal. You can be the judge of that question.

There are 95,000 burial spaces left at Arlington currently. There are 22 million active duties service members and living veterans at present and all of them are theoretically eligible to be buried at Arlington if they wish to be. Heck, I could be buried there, though my wife doesn’t seem interested in traveling that far to visit. The same applies to many other families who make their own arrangements, so obviously, not all 22 million will be asking for a burial plot. But many will, and we’re going to run out of room at some point if nothing is done.

The current proposal would slow the pace by restricting access to only those service members who earned the Purple Heart, were former POWs, or who were killed in action or combat-related services. That would eliminate me, which I would be totally fine with since my cold war service was far less notable than those on the list I just mentioned. But it would still be very unfortunate, as many families have planned their loved ones’ final journies around Arlington in recognition of and respect for the sacrifices those veterans made. If there’s no other answer, I suppose we may have to do that, but it’s hardly optimal.

That leaves us with the question of the presidents and vice presidents. As far as I’m concerned, this conversation is a non-starter. If they served in the military, then fine. They can have a spot like any other veteran, no bigger nor smaller. Jimmy Carter is eligible and I certainly wouldn’t begrudge his family an Arlington funeral when the time comes. The same goes for George W. Bush. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not serve. Neither did Donald Trump. As such, they have not earned the right to be buried there.

I have great respect for the accomplishments President Trump has rung up during his time in office. He, along with the other living presidents, gave up his time to serve the country. But that’s not the same thing as serving in the military. All three of those families have plenty of resources available to ensure that they have an appropriate resting place available when their time comes. They don’t need to take up space in the hallowed ground of Arlington.