Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Sad Day

Here’s the bulletin from the Washington Post yesterday afternoon.

“President Obama traveled to Dover Air Force Base by helicopter on Tuesday to pay his respects to the 30 U.S. troops who were killed Saturday when their Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.

The president canceled a scheduled appearance in Northern Virginia to be present for the arrival of the troops’ remains, which was closed to the media.

The crash killed 22 Navy SEALs, and eight other U.S. troops, in what became the deadliest day for the United States in the decade-long war against Afghan insurgents”.

For me the operative phrase here is the arrival was closed to the media.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again.

I agree that grief has the right to be private. The families have the right to greet their loved ones in private without the prying camera eyes of the media.

I do think, however, there should have been some kind of public/media solemn acknowledgement that our heroes are home.

Granted it is a negative message that images of flag draped coffins send home and that’s why all administrations involved in war have kept images of these kind as quiet as possible.

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

What governments have always failed to acknowledge is that once a warrior is dead, politics end. 

The dignity of name 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.

These bodies are our dead. They 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.

No comments:

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation