Empty Caskett


I walked up East Capitol from Lincoln Park. After a dozen blocks of manicured front yards met against the winter tide of browning leaves — as I crossed the last of the intersections without stoplights — I could see a large ceremony of sorts descending the back stairs of the capitol. The whole expanse of that eastern side was gray like the sky and Hail to the Chief played. A television stand was unmanned, and but four people stood around it. Everyone else was in perfect uniform and rhythmic step. The empty casket entered a black hearse and the soldiers descended the steps, the band marched, and the rehearsal crowd walked away from the yellow line we had all stood across.

And I wondered, did they rehearse with an exact replica of the casket? Or would any casket do? Which level of detail was essential?


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