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Bush Asks Zell Miller to Oversee Battle Monuments

After snubbing his Democratic Party to deliver the Republican keynote address for President Bush, former Georgia Sen. Zell Miller (search) seemed a good bet for an ambassadorship, adviser post or maybe even a Cabinet office. On Tuesday, the White House revealed Miller's choice: a seat on the American Battle Monuments Commission (search).

"I'm just an old man looking after cemeteries," Miller said in an interview Tuesday after President Bush tapped him for the job.

Although Miller has retired from virtually all aspects of public life since leaving the Senate in January, he acknowledged letting Bush know of his interest in the commission last year after returning from the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy (search).

"I got to thinking, 'Hey, this is something I've always been interested in — military history,'" Miller said. "It's not so much building more monuments but making sure the ones we do have are maintained correctly."

According to the group's Web site, the commission is responsible for commemorating the work of American armed forces since World War I. Among its duties are constructing military burial grounds around the world and designing and constructing monuments.

Miller fills a vacancy on the 12-member commission, which includes 11 commissioners and Secretary John Nicholson, a retired brigadier general. He said the duties are extremely limited, just a few weekends a year, and doesn't anticipate a salary beyond travel expenses.

As for his other retirement tasks, Miller has been giving speeches, serving as a part-time commentator on the Fox News Channel and working on a book about Appalachia.