In April, Israel brought home the remains of Sargent Zachary Baumel, a soldier who perished in Lebanon in 1982. After 37 years tracking Baumel’s remains to Syria and negotiating their recovery through Russia, the Israeli government laid him to rest at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.
For Senator Tom Cotton, the extraordinary measures taken on behalf of soldiers who rally to the flag and do not return from the breach is not simply a de rigueur tradition. In Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery, the junior senator from Arkansas has written an encomium to the martial virtues as embodied by his former unit, the storied 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment—the Old Guard. In the process, Cotton echoes Plato’s view that the ritual of honoring those who make the ultimate sacrifice has as much to do with advising the living as it does with praising the dead.