NPR logo

Hour Two: Soldier's Funeral Draws Thousands

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Hour Two: Soldier's Funeral Draws Thousands


Hour Two: Soldier's Funeral Draws Thousands

Hour Two: Soldier's Funeral Draws Thousands

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Mourners filed past Army Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin's coffin Sunday in Cincinnati. His remains were found in Iraq last month, nearly four years after he was captured by insurgents.

BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.

(Soundbite of music)


Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR Studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, the cut-up-in-chief. I'm Mike Pesca.


And I'm Rachel Martin. It's Monday, April 28th, 2008. And over the weekend, it was farewell, adieu, the final White House Correspondents' Dinner. President Bush there, making jokes, as he's known to do at these things, sometimes with more success than others. I don't know. I thought he was pretty funny. I was looking at some of the clips, and he made one little dig - because he has nothing to lose, really.

PESCA: Whatever he's had to lose, he's lost it all. If you look at the approval ratings, that is correct.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: He was talking about the fact that none of the illustrious senators running for president were at the dinner. Let's listen.

(Soundbite of speech)

President GEORGE W. BUSH: Senator McCain's not here. He probably wanted to distance himself from me a little bit. You know, he's not alone. Jena is moving out, too.

(Soundbite of laughter)

President BUSH: The two Democratic candidates aren't here, either. Senator Clinton couldn't get into the building because of sniper fire, and Senator Obama's at church.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: You like it? Rachel likes it.

MARTIN: I like the bit about Jena. He's like, "Jena is moving out, too."

PESCA: Jena is moving out.

MARTIN: He sounded genuinely sad.

PESCA: I think I read a good description of these dinners, and the "Gridiron dinner is perpetuating the fiction that politicians and the people they cover are engaged in a grand game." That appeals to my innate sense of cynicism.

MARTIN: That's profound, Mike Pesca.

PESCA: Well, wordy.

MARTIN: It's wordy and profound.

PESCA: Something.

MARTIN: This hour the show, what are we going to talk about? Another profundity, ROFLCon. We blogged it all weekend. Now, the BPP's Ian Chillag will be here in studio to give us the lowdown on the Internet Meme and Culture Conference.

PESCA: And NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, who's always writing "ROFL" and "LOL" and using those emoticons in internal emails, a little behind-the-scenes Nina Totenberg scoop. But she talks with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Great report.

MARTIN: And we're going to have a conversation with Nicholas Vreeland. He's the executive producer of a new film on the Dalai Lama which is debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York. He himself has been a Buddhist monk for 20 years. So we'll have a conversation with him. We'll also get the day's headlines in just a minute. But first...

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbite of orchestral music)

MARTIN: That is the 338th Army Band yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio, where a memorial service was held for Staff Sergeant Keith Matt Maupin. Maupin was the first American soldier declared missing-in-action in Iraq, but back in 2004. Last month, his remains were found, and yesterday, thousands from his home state of Ohio turned out to remember him.

Mr. CARL CATRELL: You were strong, both mentally and physically. God could not have chosen a better soldier than you to bear what you must have borne.

MARTIN: That's Maupin's brother-in-law Carl Catrell. Master Sergeant Billy Ray Durham was Matt Maupin's former recruiter. He said young people should look up to the fallen soldier.

Staff Sergeant BILLY RAY DURHAM (Recruiter, U.S. Army): I can say without hesitation that I hope my kids grow up and demonstrate the character that Matt Maupin possessed.

MARTIN: The memorial was held at Great American Ballpark, home of baseball's Cincinnati Reds. Maupin's casket was also on display during a day-long visitation at a civic center in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, where he grew up.

PESCA: In Maupin's hometown of Batavia, Ohio, yesterday, Julie Holcomb (ph) was putting up yellow ribbons in his honor.

Ms. JULIE HOLCOMB: He has become a hometown hero to a lot of people and an inspiration to many men and women in the service.

MARTIN: Matt Maupin was a 20-year-old private, first class, when he was captured April 9th, 2004, after his fuel convoy was ambushed west of Baghdad. Al-Jazeera aired a video tape a week later showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.

PESCA: Two months after his capture, al-Jazeera aired another tape purporting to show a U.S. soldier being shot, but the dark and grainy tape showed only the back of the victim's head and not the actual shooting.

MARTIN: Over the years, Maupin's parents lobbied to keep their son listed as missing-captured, and they met with President Bush several times. Last month, Maupin's remains were identified using DNA testing.

PESCA: Maupin's younger brother, Micah, is a Marine stationed in California. He was in Ohio for the memorial and is likely to be sent to Iraq soon. The military was holding him stateside until his brother's fate was known.

MARTIN: You can get more on this story if you go to our website, Now, let's get some more of the day's news headlines with the BPP's Mark Garrison.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.