Cook: Why do we dislike our teachers?

photo David Cook

One of the most powerful rituals in our society is the burial ceremony of a veteran.

At my grandfather's -- he was a World War II colonel, and at one point, in charge of a POW camp in Italy -- they brought out all the stops: the rifle salute, the bugle, the straight-edge folding of the casket flag from one Marine's hands into another's, who then clutched the flag to his chest, boot-walked it over to my 96-year-old grandmother, knelt down until he was eye-level, and then handed her the flag as he said words that made me weep.

On behalf of the president of the United States and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation.