Naked City

There Goes the Neighborhood

Texas Monthly publisher Mike Levy was on KVET-FM's Sam and Bob Show Tuesday morning, promoting this weekend's visit of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Fund "Traveling Wall-- to the Texas State Cemetery, sponsored in part by the magazine. Levy revealed that he has been admitted to be buried at the state cemetery, announcing the news with typical class: "I had intended to be cremated and have my ashes scattered over the city, hoping some of them would land in the eyes of these environmental nazis, but I decided this would be a better idea."

The discussion turned to city politics and (as it inevitably does on Sammy and Bob) to horrifying pet city programs like Smart Growth and light rail. Nobody remarked that the late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock reconstructed and refurbished the state cemetery by diverting state highway funds. That's a state road running through the graveyard, reasoned the soon-to-be-late Bob, so I can use highway funds ($4.7 million, to be exact) to mow the lawns, lay some new marble, design a new (initially misspelled) sign, build a visitors' center, and hire some permanent staff. Is that what Levy, Allred, Cole et al. might call "some politician's pet project"? And from sacred highway funds!

For what it's worth, the state cemetery is a city jewel, even if some suburban highway was unfairly starved to refurbish it. So while you're down there mourning the 58,226 U.S. soldiers honorably memorialized by the Vietnam Wall, remember to spare a moment of reflection for the more than 2 million Vietnamese -- men, women, and children, and uncounted neighbors -- who died defending their homeland from a U.S. invasion.

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