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Honoring Our Heroes

Posted by AB on February 27, 2009

For the past 18 years, there has been a media ban of the flag-draped coffins of deceased members of the US Military at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.  President Obama, however, ordered a Pentagon review of the policy, and on Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a change.  The specifics of the new policy are to be determined, but now the families of those soldiers will make the decision of whether or not to allow photos and video.

Pentagon War DeadThis is a policy that was long overdue for review.  For far too long, the American people have been denied the vision of the reality of war.  It is easy for all of us to dismiss the cost of war in American lives when we only hear the numbers.  We often take for granted the sacrifices of our military and their families, but however little, this is one way for us to understand the reality behind those numbers.

The American people, and people around the world will have a new appreciation for the way that we honor those who have given their lives for this great country.  This is a ceremony performed with the utmost respect, and nobody should be made to feel guilty about the interest in seeing the coffins covered by the stars and stripes.

 This could be the beginning of a return to common sense for our country and our government.  It makes a great deal of sense–allow the families to decide if the flag-draped coffins are to be covered by the media.  Some families will allow it, and some will not, but at least the families have that choice.  Neither decision should be criticized.  Americans see the wars, and all of the issues pertaining to those wars from a diversely personal viewpoint.

No matter what, I hope that we will rarely see those flag-draped coffins, not because we are hiding them, but because there are fewer of them.

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