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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Open-Coffin Question

June 18, 2004

Re "Putting a Good Face on the Final Adieu," Commentary, June 13: Mary Roach presents an interesting perspective on embalming and closed-casket viewing. Is the corpse really there or not, and is it the right corpse? When viewing the open casket of Lenin in Red Square 10 years ago, she found that his embalmed body looked great.

Alas, when I took the same tour at about the same time, the general opinion was that Lenin, who died in 1924, could never be so perfectly preserved and that his corpse is wax.

Iris McKinley

Redondo Beach

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