This post may not endear me to some and so be it. I am becoming increasing uncomfortable with the way politicians or all persuasions are associating themselves with military funerals both here and in Australia.
Some of the debate around this has become quite vicious. This does not honour the dead. I prefer the more considered approach evident in this post from a soldier who has lost four of his friends serving in Afghanistan. You can see it here.
Perhaps the desire of politicians to be involved is a reaction to the lack of honour afforded those killed in the Vietnam conflict and a realisation that was wrong. I guess I can emphasize with that. Back then those interments were essentially a private matter limited to family and friends with the military providing a firing party. Eight out of the 37 were not even returned to New Zealand. They lie in graves in Malaysia (Terendak) or Singapore (Ulu Pandan).
Yes, it is right and proper that those who make the ultimate sacrifice should be honoured by their country. They were sent into combat by their duly elected government.
But in view of the fact that, to some degree, the funeral services have become politicised I wonder whether it might be better for there to be two services ... the actual interment limited to the family and the services (being the extended military family) and a second service of remembrance some time later where our politicians and the public can pay their respects.
Whatever the decision the wishes of the immediate family should be paramount.
Reasoned contributions welcomed. If you can't oblige don't bother.