Taylor Dinerman attended a funeral of a respected soldier and space advocate and sent us this small remembrance of the man. I expect a couple of you in the commercial space business knew Mil Roberts from his days in High Frontier.
Taylor is a freelance professional journalist who from time to time graces our pages both on ‘page one’ and as a respected member of the commentariat.
“The flag that he honored with his life, now honors him.” These words spoken by the Army chaplain at the graveside ceremony for General Mil Roberts at Arlington on March 12th, explained why it is so symbolically important that the flag cover the coffins of our fallen heroes. The idea of reciprocal shared honor is one that binds any good military organization together, the past, the present and the future are all embodied in that symbol and with the deep meaning that we Americans give it.
The ceremony, with the honor guard, the riderless horse, a fifteen gun salute, the US Army Band playing Ruffles and Flourishes and America The Beautiful, the firing of the traditional three volleys, all done with precision and strict discipline but without the boot stomping and barked orders that one associates with some military ceremonies. The whole event was simple, elegant and dignified.
Mil was sent off to what he, as a Christian, believed was a better place by his friends, comrades and family in a style and manner that he had earned in combat and in years of service to America. He landed on Omaha Beach on June 6th 1944 and fought his way across Europe ending up in Czechoslovakia. Later he served in the Army reserves while pursuing a normal civilian life. In 1970 he was called up for active duty as head of the Army Reserve in the Pentagon.
As President of the High Frontier Missile Defense advocacy group, he helped get the DC-X program off the ground. That Rocket proved many things, including the fact that worthwhile space launch development programs could be done for far less than the billions of dollars that the government normally requires. This helped jump start the suborbital space tourism industry and may someday lead to a revolutionary low cost way to get into orbit.
Mil always had a great sense of humor and both he and his wife Priscilla had a wonderful gift for friendship.
He lived his life according to the old Jewish rule “Be a Mensch!”
– Taylor Dinerman