Former Mayor Ed Koch Readies His Tombstone

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch ain't dead yet, but he's got his tombstone ready for when the big day arrives.

He's already engraved a stone tablet with his epitaph and placed it on a hill at Manhattan's Trinity Church Cemetery in Washington Heights, the New York Times and  New York Post reported on Sunday. 

"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith,"  it reads. "He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II."  

Koch also included a Hebrew prayer and Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's last words before Islamic terrorists beheaded him in 2002, according to reports. They read: "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish."

Koch's friends and some neighbors at his Greenwich Village apartment building told the Post that Koch's bold move matched his larger-than-life personality. 

"He's accustomed to having the last word, so this doesn't surprise me," one friend said.

The 84-year-old is in rehab for spinal degeneration and has in the past suffered a stroke and heart attack. Most of Koch's friends that the Post contacted said they didn't think he had fallen ill again -- or expected him to go away anytime soon. 

For his part, Koch told the Times he planned on staying alive at least five more years.

"I'm not morbid," he said. "How many 84-year-olds do you know who are as active as I am? Not many. And how many 84-year-olds do you see in obituaries? A lot."

The Times also asked Koch to reflect on his past years as mayor. He "held no grudges" against political opponents, he said, even though he has refused to meet with some of them since leaving office.  

Having lived in Newark for 10 years, Koch said he wished the city would memorialize him by changing the name of Newark Airport to E.I.K.

Whatever happens, Koch said that he doesn't want to linger in ill health, according to the Times.

"I want to die at my desk," he said.

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