To the Editor:
Your article on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral memorial service for William F. Buckley, Jr. (“For Buckley ’50, a final organ plays,” 4/7) was charming — just the right amount of quirky detail for a departed gadfly who posthumously managed to be “still famous” one month after his death, despite Samuel Pepys’s startling self-awareness in his Diary that we quickly forget the dead.
Perhaps the pomp and ceremony of the casting off is actually our attempt to expiate our guilt at how quickly we “tuck’ them “away,” not only in the ground but in our consciousness. Of course, it’s self preservation: We couldn’t drag the ghosts of the past around like the chains of Marley’s ghost. Dust-in-wind syndrome is really a form of mental health.
Look what’s happened to John F. Kennedy in the short span of 45 years: He’s barely a matchbook cover or an airport name these days, even though the entire nation felt like it had its chest ripped open in Dallas in 1963. One question: Were the eulogists, Kissinger and son Buckley, as unmemorable as your brief coverage of their remarks suggests?
Paul D. Keane
The writer is a graduate of the Yale Divinity School class of 1980.