You almost certainly have never heard of Bill Cahir.
On Saturday, millions watched as Ted Kennedy made his final trip to Arlington National Cemetery. With rather less attention, Arlington’s soil opened again Monday to accept the remains of one of Kennedy’s former aides, 40-year-old Bill Cahir.
The deceased, an Alexandria resident, was unknown to most Americans, but he did no less for his country than his old boss — and, gauged by the last full measure of devotion, he did even more. He went from his job working for Kennedy in the Senate to become, at various points, a Washington journalist and a failed congressional candidate. But it was the Sept. 11 attacks that inspired Cahir, at age 34, to get an age waiver from military recruiters in 2003 and enlist in the Marines.
That brave and fateful choice ultimately landed Sgt. Cahir on the horse-drawn caisson at Arlington on Monday, two weeks after he took a bullet to the neck while on patrol in Afghanistan. Cahir’s widow, pregnant with his twin daughters, accepted the folded flag from his casket.
The New York fire department, which suffered so horribly on 9/11, sent a delegation to the funeral.