Thursday, February 26, 2009

Decision Made.

Secretary Gates has made his decision. Today he announced that the decision as to whether to allow the media to be at Dover AFB and take pictures when a fallen service member is returned home, is to be decided by the family. And since then, some of the comments I have read are both ridiculous, insulting and "Just plain ignorant". I need to know this - if this is MY husband or son, why am I going to leave something like this to the government? This is MY family, not theirs, not yours, it's MINE. Less Government - hmmm. who does THAT sound like???

Secretary Gates (and may we gently point out that he was appointed by the last Republican Administration) wanted to overturn this last year, before the election, but was dissuaded. Why, we don't really know. Me, what do I think SecDef was thinking ? I think he realized that hiding the true cost of the wars, was not the right way to treat our fallen. That if you are going to show the farewells with all the flags flying and the bands playing and the tears of the families as they say goodbye, you damned well should give those families the option to show the final farewells. You cannot just use us when you want to do the heartstrings stirring, flag waving, patriotic speech. You better be there when we are paying that last sacrifice.

When you show the homecomings with the joy and bands and yellow ribbons, you don't show what happens later, the tears and the getting to know our marriage again. THERE'S the scandal, THERE'S the insult to our troops. Show it ALL or show NONE.

This decision is one small private bit of our lives. And yes, I'm sure it's going to end up with a form, and there will be battles between the family members, and this might even make some people (ahem... yeah, you know who you are) make a decision, or at least have some input into this horrible part of planning for the future that we have to do every time our soldier deploys (YES, I know, I said soldier... I'm Army... you know I mean service member, but I'm sick of using that!)

What would I do? I don't know. I really don't . I find the photograph that was used by, which is above, to be a quietly moving photograph. I don't know these fallen, I do know that they are loved and honored. The Guard of Honor around them are taking them home, and they are not alone.



Tucker said...

Great post LAW (as always)... you hit all the points and you are spot on with the "show it all or show none" part. Well said!

Linda said...

While I don't agree with you on a lot of things, I do agree with you on this. They show the good...why not show the other side...and why not let it be up to the families?

Jennifer said...

I read in the paper today that something like 85% of military families opposed overturning the ban.

This is a difficult issue. One with no easy answer. One that will require some families to make a decision that I pray I never have to make.

Your point of showing ALL of it - the good and the bad - is an excellent one.

Sarge Charlie said...

From my experience, there is no good side to show, I am a Vietnam Vet that flew regularlly from Siagon to Okinawa on C141s, the carried war supplies to Vietnam and Bodies home, I have caught a ride on a plane with 6 pallats of 24 coffins each, not the nice neat lines of flag drapped coffins you have seen. I do not think that is something the public needs to see. I think coverage by request of the family would be fine but only that families loved one. I do like coverage of our guys coming into airports because it makes me cry, and remember that the only ones there when I came home was the war protesters. I love and respect our military and would fight to protect any family that did not welcome the camera in their face, just as I would fight the idiot religious zelalots that try to disrupt their internment.

No, I am not a liberial, and I think you will live to reget your vote, I truly hope not, but that is my belief.

I would welcome you to my blog and let you express your point of view.

Kanani said...

LAW --I have to say, SargeCharlie is one of the most fair conservative bloggers. He has his points, but he always lets dissenters make their own as well. I've never seen him cut anyone off. Ever! And besides, he dances a lot and brings Empress Bee cake. How cool can you get?

Kanani said...

Well, I think there will be plenty of media coverage once through the gates of Dover. I don't want to see such a sad moment turned into a photo-op for anyway. If there is to be grief, let the families have it without the glare of the camera.
If we want to highlight problems and issues that soldiers and families have, we can do it eloquently in other ways.

liberal army wife said...

As the SecDef himself has pointed out, and I have been saying all day - this is the choice of the family. and if it were to happen that more than one body is returned, if ONE of those families says no, there is no media. We are finally, FINALLY being acknowledged as having a choice in something to do with the military, with the biggest and most awful thing. It is up to US, the FAMILY to make this choice, NOT the government, not the military, not the media, no one else.


Sarge Charlie said...

Good morning miss law, I want to thank Kanani for her kind comment. Just so you know, the reason I object to the photos is because I know and you know it will become a media circus, people will take others photos and use them for their political purposes, there will be no way to stop the shameful use of the photos.

BTW, I have a 50 year old daughter who lives in SanDieago and followed the grateful dead. I am in the midst of a "My Life" post and will be doing my experience in vietnam for the next three days. My daughter protested at 12, while I was in vietnam. My story is addressed to her.