Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, the first veteran of the Vietnam war to enter Congress and one of the House’s most powerful lawmakers, died Monday afternoon at Virginia Hospital Center after complications from gallbladder surgery. Murtha was 77.
“Congressman John P. Murtha (PA-12) passed away peacefully this afternoon at 1:18 p.m. at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va. At his bedside was his family,” read a statement from his office.
No one who has read this blog for the last couple of years will be surprised that I didn’t particularly like Rep. Murtha. His actions over the last several years have been divisive, unhelpful (to America, at any rate), and needlessly abrasive. I have no compunction in saying that I believe America is far better without him in our legislature. None of which makes me happy he’s gone. I especially don’t like to hear of someone passing while in the midst of a difficult career. If I had a wish for the Congressman, it would have been that life could have allowed him to take some time to be with his family full-time; that he could have simply enjoyed their presence and had them enjoy his. I’d wish that his most important meeting be watching his grandkids at some sporting event or school function or whatever.
No, Mr. Murtha and I agreed on precious little and it would be hard for me to stomach having to listen to him in the same room. But that’s all past now. Now, I have just one thing to say about him…
Grant unto him eternal life, O Lord, and let your face shine upon him. Welcome him into your presence and grant his family the strength to endure without him.