Wednesday, October 7, 2009

War Coffins

My former profession is guilty again of limited interest and giving short shrift to an on-going story of emotional import and national honor.

You may recall a number of years ago the images of coffins from the war were banned from our nightly television screens by the Bush administration. For their own reasons the Bush administration did not allow any pictures of American coffins returning from the war zone.

Granted, flag draped coffins are a negative image and that’s why all administrations involved in war try to keep images of these kind from an emotional public.

In Vietnam, I covered the war and the coffins coming home. I’ve seen the dead in Croatia and I’ve reported on the mortality count in numerous wars and conflicts since the sixties.

I acknowledge the fact that the Obama administration lifted the ban on taking photos of returning coffins as long as the families did not object.

What happened then? Dozens of news organizations rushed to Dover Air Force Base to photograph the coffins coming home. The media interest lasted only a few weeks and now only the Associated Press continues to cover the story. Shame, shame on my media.

What government did and the media is doing today is failing to acknowledge that once a warrior is dead, politics end and honor begins.

The dignity of saying a warrior's name in public is important to the validity of service, not only to the family, but also to the social and patriotic permanence to our society.

Heroes are honored, not hidden. We may not like this or any war, but our government sent these young men and women into harms way and they should be honored appropriately.

From my thinking politics be hanged and selective news judgment be harangued, for these are our war dead. These warriors served by choice and honor. They died by circumstance and the hatred of another. Let us acknowledge their remains with images and names and bugle calls in public. Do not let them come home to be buried in silence and tears!

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