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Koop rejects offer of burial at Arlington

Saying he was grateful that President Clinton "thought me worthy of such honor at the time of my death," former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop announced Wednesday that he was rejecting the president's offer to let him be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1994, the president granted Koop an exemption allowing the burial, but the move has come under recent scrutiny from Rep. Terry Everett, R-Ala., who has been examining the possibility of political favoritism.In a written statement, the 81-year-old Koop, who was appointed by President Reagan and held the job for eight years, said he was relinquishing his claim to the burial plot because he did not want Congress to spend its "valuable floor time" debating the matter.

"I do this without rancor," he wrote, "and with an understanding of and respect for the special place that burial at Arlington has in the hearts of the American people."