Thursday, February 26, 2009
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 Military.com, 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.