NPR logo Rep. John Murtha Remembered, Buried

Rep. John Murtha Remembered, Buried

The flag draped casket of U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., is carried up the front steps of Westmont Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010. Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo hide caption

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Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

The flag draped casket of U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., is carried up the front steps of Westmont Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010.

Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Rep. John Murtha, the Marine and Vietnam veteran and unabashed pork-barrel congressman was remembered at his funeral Tuesday as being something of an original character.

It was that strong sense of Murtha's uniqueness, including how he was a hawkish retired Marine colonel who became a hero to the left for his eventual opposition to the Iraq War, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to capture in her remarks at the Westmont Presbyterian Church in Jonnstown, Pa.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported she said:

"Patriot, champion, hero, giant — Jack Murtha. We will never see his like again," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Meanwhile, even a priest who delivered the eulogy didn't shy away from remarking on one of Murtha's most controversial aspects, his penchant for bringing home the bacon.

Another Post-Gazette snippet:

Father William George, a Jesuit priest and president of Georgetown Preparatory School, read from the Book of Ecclesiastes, the portion about how for everything there is a season and time.

"The writer of Ecclesiastes could also have written 'a time to make law and a time to change laws,' " Father George said, adding, wryly, "and, yes, a time to earmark."

A roll of laughter filled the sanctuary where colleagues were preparing to bury the man who came to be celebrated and sometimes reviled as "The King of the Earmarks."

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The newspaper's report drove home the point of what Murtha meant to his western Pennsylvania district with this:

Speaker Pelosi flew with a delegation into the John P. Murtha Airport and traveled past defense plants the congressman brought into his hometown as chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee.