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April 28th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Most families allow media to cover fallen soldiers

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Since the Obama administration lifted the ban on media coverage of fallen troops returning to the U.S., most military families are choosing to allow reporters and photographers to witness the ceremonies.

The press had been banned from covering these solemn ceremonies ostensibly to protect the privacy of the soldiers' families. Cynics suggest it was because President Bush didn't want attention drawn to the fact that soldiers were being killed in the phony war he started in Iraq.

The ban was actually imposed 18 years ago by Bush's father, the first President Bush, during Operation Desert Storm. The father of one Army corporal recently killed in Iraq said, "I think it was to protect the government's butt." That's exactly what it was.

So far - 14 of 19 families have allowed the media cover their loved one's return. The Pentagon calls it "a pretty good majority." The Air Force Mortuary Affairs office says reporters have been cooperative and there haven't been any problems. They also say they'll help facilitate a meeting with reporters if the family wants... although only one family has done that so far.

Sadly, media interest has dropped off rather dramatically in just a few short weeks: almost 40 members of the press turned up for the return of the first combat casualty they were allowed to cover... at a more recent ceremony, the AP says its photographer was the only one.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if most military families want the media to cover the return of fallen troops to the U.S.?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Annette writes:
As a mother of an army infantry sergeant who has served two deployments to Iraq, I welcome the decision to raise the ban. If, God forbid, my son is ever killed in action, I would want to honor his courage and make sure that the country never forgets the war that continues so far away.

Steve writes:
It is an excellent idea to let the families of fallen soldiers decide whether they would like their losses honored by dignified media coverage. And the decline in such coverage since the rules were changed is more a sign of the implosion of newspapers nationwide than of media insensitivity. In the past, local newspapers would have moved heaven and earth to cover their fallen sons and daughters - but today the decimation of newspaper budgets makes this a budgetary impossibility.

Kate from Canada writes:
It's sad that more media are not covering the arrival home of fallen soldiers. In Canada, it is a moving ceremony that brings home to all of us the sacrifices that these soldiers and their families have made on behalf of all of us. Our media here cover each homecoming.

Kristen from Sherman Oaks, California writes:
The majority of families wanting, or allowing, press coverage means the Bush administration never did it to 'protect' them; it was to protect their own agenda.

Johnny from Pittsburgh writes:
It means that most people who suffer this kind of loss don't want it to go by unspoken. It means they don't want the loss to be ignored. They have lost something of utmost importance, and they want everyone to know. We should know. It's part of the true cost of the war, and part of our national grief.


Filed under: U.S. Army • US Military
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. Jenna Wade

    What does it mean if most military families want the media to cover the return of fallen troops to the U.S.?

    To mean that it means that they want the nation to share their grief and honor their loved one lost.

    God Bless Them!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  2. Samir from Florida

    They want us to see the reality of war. To most, it may seem like a story or video game. When you see the fallen soldiers, you realize that this isn't a game.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  3. Steve C

    It means that they want the country to be aware of the true costs of war.

    Steve,
    Laguna Niguel, CA

    April 28, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  4. Justin

    It is just another indication of how contemptuous the last administration was of veterans like me, and of our families.

    And I say that knowing this was not a policy implemented by the Bush adminsitration. Well – not this Bush administration.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  5. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    It means they want their loved one to receive every measure of respect the sacrifice calls for. In regard to our loss of these lives, it doesn't matter whether the war was a mistake or not, they undoubtedly went believing that the cause was right. Those who knew the war was wrong and refused to go should also be honored.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  6. David of Alexandria VA

    Likely a lot of very personal reasons. But propbably, they want their oved ones to be recognized respectfully for their supreme sacrifice and not disappear under a named anonymous tombstone in Arlington.

    This is their right. but, if the media or the special interest groups start trying to politicize it - expect the family permissions to become a rarity.

    I hope that your bloggers don't start a politicizing frezy with this question, Jack - it would say more negative about America than any amount of waterboarding ever could.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  7. Mike from Calgary

    It's a very good thing when most families want the media to cover the return of their fallen loved ones. It gives all of us a chance to honour and pay our respects to that soldier and the job he or she did for us - even if we don't agree with the war. In Canada, we've covered the return of fallen soldiers since the initial invasion of Afghanistan. The coverage includes the ceremony on the tarmack in Afghanistan as the fallen soldier is loaded onto the aircraft, and the ceremony when the soldier arrives back in Canada and is transported along the Highway of Heros. It is a beautiful thing to watch and I hope it continues as it allows my entire family to thank that fallen soldier and sympathize with their family

    April 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  8. Donald Ainsworth

    Jack it means they want the American people to see the fallen return, remind us the terrible cost of war, and make us think whether it is worth it. I remember in the late 60's being stationed at Wright-Patt AFB in Ohio I was a member of the Volunteer Honor Guard that covered funerals, from the Viet Nam War in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. I managed to stay detached from the grieving until one Hero's family requested that all members of the Honor Guard view the body at the funeral home. That's the one I rember Jack. Don from Wapakoneta, Ohio

    April 28, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  9. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    We spend less time watching Faux News, listening to Gone Boehner, and scratching our heads over stitch McConnell.

    We spend more time agreeing with our president, celebrating his popularity here and abroad, and thanking God for a resilient nation.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  10. George, Dunedin, Florida

    Bringing their loss to front, and center helps with the healing process. Showing that we do care doesn't show our wealkness as many would have you believe, but that we love, honor, and shall miss deeply our loyal defenders of freedom. . Much better than having their loved one swept under the rug as if nothing happened is totally wrong. If we do not have the dignity about us to offer this to families of fallen heros, then we have no diginity at all.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  11. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    I think they want the country to take notice of their loss. I don't blame them. But I also think you guys have spent more time talking about covring the return of fallen troops than you guys have spent actually covering the return of fallen troops.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  12. Venia PA

    It means that gwb and cheyney by prohibiting the viewing of fallen soldiers didn't want America to see the travesty of what they had done.

    April 28, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  13. Jim

    Jack,

    It means the families want the public to know and honor the sacrifices these troops have made for us. It's a fitting and final closure to their life story.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    April 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Richard, in Kansas

    As a disabled veteran who's lost friends in war I think it is imoprtant that the media pay pribute to the sacrifice these men and woman made by covering their final homecoming in a dignified way. Regardless of your personal opinion about the war itself, these men and women laid down their lives on our behalf and deserve to be recognized and remembered with honor. Semper Fi .

    April 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  15. Michael H., Albuquerque, NM

    It means that they deserve recognition for their service and consolation for their loss.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  16. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    I believe they want to show how serious the American People are in their belief this war should end and we should bring our troops home before there is anymore senseless killing.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Doug from Indiana

    I think that the families feel thst the cost of war and military action needs to be made clear to everyone. Plus, it is on some level a way to allow the rest of us to give thanks that they made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.

    A side benefit: it might encourage our leaders to not be fools who rush in.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  18. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    It means that our government wanted to hide the sight of the fallen, (along with lies about how some of them died) so the public wouldn't become anti-war like they did with Viet Nam. It has nothing to do with disrespecting the families because they are treated with so much respect and honored in their final trip home, if anything, it brings out the public to support those families waving flags, putting their hands over their hearts or saluting. And that is as it should be.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  19. T.E. from OK

    I think it is great this is left up to the families. We have loved ones overseas. Thank you President Obama.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  20. John Webster, Aldergrove BC Canada

    Unseen casualties of this misguided conflict don’t register on those tuned in to other realities like the economy and their imperilled financial futures. Media coverage reminds the oblivious of their realities and what this war does to their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. I can’t wait to see the last one come home.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  21. Marie Ontario

    Just like you said Jack the Bush gang didn't allow media coverage for their own personal agenda with no concern for the families or the public at large.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  22. Ray Kinserlow

    It is no mystery. They want their relative's "last full measure of devotion" to be publicly acknowledged. It is high time we see for ourselves the price we are paying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    April 28, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  23. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    Refusing media coverage of the fallen American troops on the grounds of preserving the family's privacy has been the biggest insult to recognizing the ultimate sacrifice that has been made.

    Since we don't force other funerals to take back streets and alleys to the cemetery, we should have never have allowed the military to bring our heroes home under the cover of darkness or behind closed doors.

    The families want their loss to be recognized, their grief to be shared and the sacrifice to be appreciated by those that benefited, but most of all, they want to have their loved one honored.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  24. Jason, Koloa, HI

    It means they want public recognition for the sacrifice of their loved ones.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  25. maria from Europe

    they want to honour their loved ones... and deserve the honour to be know to all world... life is precious and they lost it honourably.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  26. Mike, Syaracuse, NY

    It means that they view the coverage as more of an honor than an imposition. The dropoff of coverage of course means that for the press, it was always more about sensationalism than press freedom.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  27. Brandon

    It means that they want us to mourn their loss with them. We ALL need to bear that soldier's weight on our shoulders as well as the honor guard does... families want us to understand the gravity of war, the press coverage is a great analogy for the American people to such an important story. News bureaus should ensure someone is there to cover each and every fallen soldier, this is more important than ratings and ad revenue. Maybe we should also see more of the "injured", people need to understand that can mean broken arms and legs or missing all arms, legs, hearing, eyes and/ or lips...

    April 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  28. Victor

    Judging by the decline of the media interest I'd guess they only cared as long as they had an agenda of their own to push. I wish they would stop pretending to be reporters and start a blog. When reporting give us the facts, circumstances and any other pertinent information. Leave your opinions to yourself and post them on your blog.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  29. Kevin ,Monticello FL

    Well Jack let me say this.....They Gave all for a cause they believed in. Heroism should be honored. What makes me sick are those whiners that use these ceremonies as an excuse to preach their anti-war rhetoric. Freedom is not Free. Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice should never have their memories used as propaganda tools.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  30. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    It means they are demanding accountability from the politicians who continue to send Americans into combat. Every Congressman should be forced to attend every single funeral to see what their hubris has wrought.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  31. Ted, Beaverton,OR

    That's because our fallen heroes were Americans doing a job for the entire country. I think most families realize and understand that sharing the death burden with others who also care very deeply gives purpose and reason to the lost loved one, and I'm sure it lightens their load of grief.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  32. John from Alabama

    Jack: Most people who die of natural causes or accidents are not honored with this nation's flag over their coffin's. Military veterans whether on active duty or not can an do decide to have the flag over their coffin's. These military families honor their fallen loved ones by allowing a respectful nation to view this honor. The two keys words: respect and honor.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  33. Tom from Philly

    It is overwhelmingly obvious that these sacrificed heros, who would never demand attention but only follow command, are being respected bu their families allowing their tragic homecomming to be felt by the countrymen they were willing to sacrifice their life for. We also need to be reminded of the cost of our wars.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  34. Paul Austin, Texas

    It means Jack that the families want thier loved ones remembered as Heroes for the actions they did for all of us. We should all be proud of them and very thankful for the Heroes that they are. It also means that we all need to know freedom is not for free and even if we all do not agree with the actions our government takes we have a military that will be there for us all. Thank you all men and women of the military.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  35. kevin

    It means that the family wants to show that their son, daughter, mom or dad have given the ultimate sacrifice for a country where most people could give a damn about. Thank God we have such men and women who risk their lives for us.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  36. ajks

    The families are finally being given choices about the way that they want to honor and grieve for their family member. It is a shame all of the families did not have this choice.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  37. Penny Muleshoe, Texas

    I am not sure what it means Jack. I know that when my husbands body was brought back from Iraq we sure didn't want the media circus taking pictures of it. His funeral was for relatives and friends not the media. If the media couldn't find time to report about these brave men and women while they were alive doing exactly what the United States Congress sent them to do in Iraq and Afghanistan then they needn't bother showing up after the fact.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  38. Judy

    Dear Jack,

    I think that if the families wants the coverage they should have it, there family member went and put there life on the line for are freedom. We should give them there wish. Thank You to the fallen military families we are safe becauce of there family member.

    Judy
    California

    April 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  39. Ron San Antonio

    Bush was an idiot trying to sway public opinion. However that was the wrong way! Allowing our fallen heros to be seen by all Americans is respect. Respect for giving the ultimate sacrifice! The American people must be aware of the price for freedom and stop for a moment to reflect every time the news show the return! There is nothing political in viewing our fallen heroes. As the military show respect by burial details, we must show respect by watching! It is the right thing to do! It is the least we can do!

    April 28, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  40. Tina Tx

    They do not want we Americans to forgot the horrors of war and they want us to see the softer side of their loved ones and hope it never happens to them.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  41. Tim in Texas

    It means that these families are allowing the American people to both share in their grief and to have a greater understanding of the sacrifice that their loved ones and they themselves have made in protecting and serving us all. Although nothing we can do or say will compensate them for their selflessness, what we can do in return is honor their sacrifice with our prayers, our support, and our deepest thanks.
    Tim in Texas

    April 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  42. Tony

    It means they want their loved ones honored by the US and not ignored.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  43. JOY

    One mother of a fallen soldier, said she felt , it honored her child , for them to show his coffin. I feel that it does honor them. They have paid the ultimate price for their country. We should show their coffins coming home to rest.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  44. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Too many other issues have been talked about in the media that our fallen soldiers seem to have been forgotten. Families want the American people to remember that there is still a war going on and our men and women are dying in vain. I give them a lot of credit for allowing coverage.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  45. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It means they want respect for their family member that lost their lives to allow all of us to live freely...as far as I can see the media personnel in America can live freely in doing the job they love to do...that is one of the freedom that all men and women fight for us! In life, balance is always the main important key to our well being ...from going to 40 to 1 media this is not balance for what we owe to the men and women who chooses freely to serve and protect us!

    Of course, there is always some who would use the argument to show the least lost lives for political reasons! For me, there is nothing political about being respectful and being visible at showing our respect. In fact, for me it is always a reminder that we all have a responsibility in serving and protecting, in whatever forms we chose to do, our freedoms both at home and abroad! And in a global sense it is a reminder of our solidarity towards one another and it is a reminder of our very own basic civility that is expected from every respected nation that at the very least we are paying our respect to the brave men and women without getting political!

    April 28, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  46. Annie, Atlanta

    It means it should have been the families who decided all along. It's nice to have a guy in charge who understands that.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  47. Andi in Illinois

    Good for them! I was outraged when Bush, Sr. banned coverage at Dover. My sister served during "Desert Storm" and fortunately is safe and sound, but to ignore the fallen is not only an insult but a sham political ploy.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  48. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    What this tells me is that the Bush policy to not allow pictures or filming of the returning fallen soldiers was a "political" decision and not to "protect" the families as they stated. Very disappointing, but not surprising.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  49. Lyons-Philadelphia, PA

    Families want their loved one known about by the public. They deserve that much. I think it also gives the family closure and the feeling that their loved ones didn't go over to Iraq or Afghanistan to fign in vain.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  50. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    I believe the families of our men and women fighting over seas have nothing but pride for our soldiers. I think Obama has done the right thing in letting the families decide how they want their loved ones honored. Some would prefer it to be private and that must be respected and others want them to be remembered publicly for the sacrifice they have made for their country protecting the freedom that we all enjoy.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  51. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    My great-grand-father served in the Civil War; my Grandfather in World War I, and my father in World War II. None of them were 'fallen' in battle. If they had, I think it would be an honor for the local community to know that their native sons fought to protect them.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    April 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  52. Melissa

    It means they realize that proper honor must be paid to the people who died for their country. Its only right.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  53. Mike, Arlington, VA

    Jack, I live close to Arlington National Cemetery and I frequently use the roads in the area. I'm always deeply moved when I go by, but also amazed by how many joggers and passers-by don't even seem to notice the honored dead lying just yards away. Maybe the families of the recently fallen know that seeing the flag-draped coffins, the honor guards, and the grieving family members is a more vivid and poignant reminder of their loved one's sacrifice and all it represents than a cold and impersonal tombstone.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  54. Joshua

    It means that the Bush era restrictions were paternalistic and deceptive attempts to prevent the American people from recognizing the American cost of the war in Iraq.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  55. John ...... Marlton, NJ

    It means the families love are very proud of their fallen soldier.

    The question I would rather answer is " WHY HAS MEDIA INTEREST DROPPED OFF SO DRAMATICALLY IN JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS" ?

    April 28, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  56. John, NC

    I think for all the families, they want their lost ones to be remember as heroes, they want us to know that there are brave men dying far away from our land, and fighting to keep us secure. But also raises some other questions. Who wins with all these wars? Is our government taking good care of our soldiers when they make it back home? Should we leave other countries decide what their future will be on their own?

    April 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  57. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    It means that the consequences of America's fighting on two fronts in the Mideast is finally out in the open for us all to see. My nephew, who is in the Army, is heading to Afghanistan tomorrow for a year. While he's gone, his first child will be born. I certainly will worry about him while he's over there–I know that it's a dangerous war. But if he is killed in action, at least our family will have the comfort of knowing that his sacrifice will be publicly recognized by the American government–and the American people.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  58. johnny c. Pittsburgh, PA

    It means that most people who suffer this kind of loss don't want it to go by unspoken. It means they don't want the loss to be ignored. They have lost something of utmost importance, and they want everyone to know. We should know. It's part of the true cost of the war, and part of our national grief.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  59. Christine

    Jack,
    First, I find it ironic that the media have 'lost interest' now that they basically have free access.

    Second, as the mother of a Marine, I would refuse the media access. My son believes in his country and I will not let his willingness to defend and protect the United States be used by anyone – media, political party or the Pentagon – for their own ends.

    Proud Marine Mom

    April 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  60. Jim from Asheville

    Jack, it means that they want the public to know their loved one died for our country and that their work and death was not in vain.

    If you do not show the fallen troops it, like the Bush administration did, it shows you are trying to hide something.

    Don't you think this was what they were trying to do?

    April 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  61. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    It means that those families want their fellow Americans to know of their fallen family members so they can be humanized and honored appropriately – something that our warmongering government has miserably failed to do. Sometime I think that our politicians who start unnecessary wars should be called the inhumane society.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  62. Karen, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Military families know that they are the only ones making sacrifices for the war. Without seeing the fallen soldiers return with dignity, most Americans hardly give the war a second thought because we have not been asked to sacrifice anything. The public return of these heros should have started the day the first soldier was killed and should have continued for the past eight years. Americans need to see the horror of war. Our "out of sight-out of mind" mentality is finally over.

    April 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  63. Paul Williams

    One more fallacy of the Bush/Cheney calamity withers when exposed to the sunshine of truth. As a Vietnam veteran who still hurts from the sting of all the shenanigans heaped upon us and the country by legislative manipulation, I was incensed to learn that those who paid the ultimate sacrifice were returned to their homeland as if they were thieves, or (as
    veep Cheney would call them) "whiners" and "losers".

    To me, this attitude has come to be emblematic of the Republican party. Refer to the infamous Bush platitude, "You're either with us, or you're part of them" (the enemy). Based on that irrational reality, I'm a communist/socialist threat to freedom and the American way of life and I was one election cycle away from being subject to an all-expenses-paid, indefinite guest of "The Hotel Guantanamo".

    Paul in Fair Oaks, CA

    April 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  64. CHRIS, Bx., NY

    Jack.....
    When the ban was lifted....and since viewing the return of our great, victorious, soldiers from battle, it has been an honor to grieve, w/ the families of the fallen......I'm 29, and a New Yorker....so needless to say we're pretty tough around these parts.....Jack I've not had a dry eye each time I've seen the return of our servicemen/women....I respect them, and their families, for allowing me to be more aware of the sacrifice our soldiers make....

    April 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  65. Barb

    It means that now people has the right to choose which is the way it should have been. For a country they is based on freedom for choice the GOP surely have a way of limiting that choice, not only in this situation but others like abortion and same sex marriage

    April 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  66. David in San Diego

    It means Bush I was wrong to try to cover up our Desert Storn losses, and the American people are smarter than that.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  67. Linda from San Antonio

    Jack,
    I believe that these families want the rest of us to see for ourselves the sacrifice their loved ones made for us. Personally, I am humbled and grateful for their service. We have a miltary recruiting office near our office building and I make sure I thank each of the soldiers I see for their service...everytime. Just a small, small way of letting them know I am grateful to them. To the familes of these fallen heroes: Thank You for letting us share in your loved one's final journey home. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  68. Jay from FLA

    It means that they want their loved ones remembered for their sacrifice and not shoved under a rug to cover up the true costs war. It also means that those who decried this decision as anti-war propaganda, now have 14 less legs to stand on. Three cheers for an open and honest press!

    April 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  69. Dennis North Carolina

    They want respect for their lost ones.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  70. Gerry from Smithfield Virginia

    It means Jack, those families are allowing the people of the United States, whom their loved ones defended, the privledge and honor of sharing with them, the grief and loss they feel.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  71. Jack Dempsey

    Jack, it means the families of are fallen troops don't want to face the price of freedom alone. That they want to share their loss with all americans, with all free people. Anyone that can't look at the price of freedom and respect it, remember it, doesn't deserve it. Any government that tries to hide it doesn't deserve the support of it's people! Jack from Nice, Ca.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  72. Jim/NC

    It means that the family, relatives and friends want to share the loss with the nation, which is the right thing to do. All Americans should be aware of the price families and citizens feel when we lose just one hero that is protecting our country. May God bless them all!

    April 28, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  73. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    They want their loved one to get the well-deserved recognition. Whenever something tends to be covert it gets a lot more media attention than if it is out in the open.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  74. Andy

    Jack, President Cheney didn't want the public to see our sons and daughters coming home in body bags b/c it would hurt his friends at Halliburton, who were all busy getting rich off the pre-emptive and unnecessary war in Iraq.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  75. Ian

    The rule needed to be changed but not completely lifted. It should state that the media can cover the funeral ceremonies IF they're invited by the family. If they're not invited, they should be legally prohibited from showing up and subject to criminal and civil prosecution if they do.

    You media types are being respectful so far, but how long will it be before you're shoving your cameras in the face of a grieving mother and asking her how she feels about having her son murdered by the government?

    And one last point: I know you love to bash Republicans, Jack, but let's not forget that this ban was put in place under the first Bush, and a Democrat president followed him. Bill Clinton didn't lift it so the meida could film the funerals of soldiers slaughtered in Mogadishu during his tenure, so maybe it actually is about respect for the families.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  76. Melanie, Germany

    As far as I see it : these families have every right to a few minutes recognition for their loved ones. The lost one won't come home so a little respect nationally (and internationally) is well-deserved.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  77. wd

    It means they want the rest of this country to honor the sacrifices their loved ones made and to see that freedom isn't free but comes a price precious few in this country are willing to pay.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  78. Doris/St Louis

    Our fallen soldiers tells the true, unedited story of WAR, as the song says; War, what is it good for? Absolutely NOTHING!

    April 28, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  79. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    It says that the families honor their loved ones and their service to our great country. We The People need to see these stories and honor their sacrifice as it reminds us that there is a cost in human life to defend this country. Their ceremonies should be photographed for posterity, so that future generations know that war is real and not some video game simulation.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  80. teresa, md

    The families of troops know that "support the troops" means doing everything you can to bring them home. If seeing American soldiers coming home in coffins doesn't motivate us to get them out of harms way, I don't know what will. This businiess of turning war into a mini series with a title and cute sayings and ribbons has allowed us to think of Iraq in the abstract. Over the years anyone who wanted to tell the real ravages of war and question our reasons for waging war has been called unpatriotic.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  81. Chris

    Jack,

    It tells us there is a bitter taste in the American publics mouth towards the overall situation in Iraq. I personally believe that it is our obligation to restore order in Iraq, since we distablized the country in the first place.

    The 2007 troop surge has been affective in restoring security to the region, and we have to remember that the entire civil infruastructure of Iraq was depleted when we first invaded the country and we cannot realisticly expect a country to institute a funtional government in that short of a period. That being said, it appears the the fictatous reasons for going to war in the first place have overidden our moral responsablity to the region.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  82. teresa, md

    Even the families of troops know that "supporting the troops" means doing everything you can to bring them home. If seeing American soldiers coming home in coffins doesn't motivate us to get them out of harms way, I don't know what will. This business of turning war into a mini series with a title, cute sayings and ribbons has allowed us to think of Iraq in the abstract. Over the years anyone who wanted to tell of the real ravages of war or question our reasons for going has been called unpatriotic. I dare anyone to question the motives of a mother that wants Americans to know how her child came back from duty.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  83. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    It means that families want the huge sacrifice being paid by our troops to be remembered. Since the economy took center stage, little is said about our troops. They continue to be killed and wounded every day of the week! These wars need to end!

    April 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  84. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I think it means that the majority of military families feel the need to show and share with our country what the ultimate price some people have to pay to protect our country. My heart goes out to them and feel that they made the right decision. I too have a grandson that is in the marine core. I think that a president who makes a decision to invade a country and go to war looking for something that never was, should have allowed military families the right to leave the media cover the fallen soldiers returned home. Trying to hide this part of of the war so that it would be seen in a much favorable light was a very wrong thing to do.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  85. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Jack, my father died as a result of being exposed to Agent Orange when he served our country in Viet Nam and there was no media coverage. I wish there had been as I would have loved to tell the world that we need to put a stop to the politicians that put us in these situations. Perhaps if they were punished by the loss of one of their kids or spouse as a result of their decision then we wouldn't be putting others through this. Their death should be slow and painful just as my dad's was. It saddens my heart to hear that only one person covered the most recent return but this is the way our society treats Vets.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  86. Dave in Arizona

    The short answer is, I hope, that they want the world to see the loss they, themselves, have suffered. And the world should see it. Nobody should ever be asked to support or pay for a war without bearing witness to its costs.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  87. Kerry Florida

    It's the same thing as a funeral and the way people pay their respects to the families. Most families have a funeral and have the casket carried respectfully for the dead so what's the difference...

    April 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  88. Carl from Citrus Heights, California

    It gives them a sense of closure and fortifies their rationalizing the loss of a loved one. The respect given to the returning heroes also clearly illustrates the sobering responsibility of defending Democracy, Freedom and Moral/Ethical Principles.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  89. Willow, Iowa

    I think Bush was covering his butt too. "For some families, its the last they will see of their loved ones casket. Its almost a memorial to have your loved one again on film. This is so very sad. These are the youngest and strongest we have.

    My Grandmother died in childbirth at 17. She would have been 100 years old this year, had she lived, When I was younger, it wasn't so shocking that she had died so young. The older I get, the more I realize what she lost. Its the same with these young soldiers. They have lost so much that we can't even comprehend.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  90. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    It means they don't want us to forget their loved ones. We only hear something on the news if there are multiple deaths and then it's only in passing. The networks would rather have all their commentators discussing Pres. Obama's every move and any other government official's remarks about it. Vietnam started out the same way. It's sad because alot of people are interested in learning about our fallen heroes. I would rather hear that than all the opinion sessions.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  91. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    It means that they don't want the sacrifice that was paid by their loved one to be swept under the carpet. Over the last two decades, wars have been reduced to 30 seconds out of a 30 minute newscast. We've all forgotten about how there are real men and women making the ultimate sacrifice, and we all should be reminded and given a chance to pay our respects regardless of what it means to opinion polls.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  92. Harvey Ar.

    Being retired military I feel these men gave all,and they deserve all the honor that can bestowed upon them and their families. So many times military personel are forgotten until they are needed.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  93. Richard Green

    Jack,
    It means that military families are proud of their loved ones and want the country to see the sacrifice of the family. It also demonstrates how little George Bush valued the wishes of the families of soldiers whose deaths he made possible. Bush banned all coverage of these funerals regardless of the family wishes. He was afraid of the feelings of these families that he could not control. He was also afraid of the reaction of the country to the sight of young people being buried every day because of the war he and Cheney lied us into.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  94. Sandy in Arkansas

    It means that those families have given the ultimate sacrifice and want their loved one to be honored, remembered, and their service and sacrifice to be noticed by all Americans. Our military members who come home...in whatever way...should be afforded the coverage and reverence we give to so many who contribute far, far less to our freedom and safety. These men and women who sacrificed their lives deserve the state funerals our leaders get. Thankfully, many cities have done just that for their fallen heros...even when it was ordered to be covered up by a Bush.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  95. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    It is putting Bush and Cheney's mistakes right out in front of the American public. No more hiding the truth. It makes a statement by these families about the reality of the situation that the Bush administration hid. God bless all of these families whose family member made the ultimate sacrifice.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  96. Daniel Indiana

    It means that they don't mind their fallen family member be honored by the media and to be counted openly by Americans. It says that the time has come to acknowledge the truth of war, that people die.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  97. odessa

    they want to us see the pain that their families are going through.soliders are making huge scarfices and their families so it would give the families closure to let them know that soliders are doing hardwork while congressmen and former vice president running off the mouth saying that they did a better running things not the soliders.i don't wish this on any parent because it could be my child in that box. i hope that the iraq war will end so we won't keep hearing about another solider is gone or dead bodies in boxes.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  98. Greg, Ontario

    If they are anything like the families of our fallen( in Canada) they know that the country needs to grieve for them almost as much as they do. We have given the families their privacy by not allowing the media near the tarmac when they arrive, only the family gets to be there for that. CNN has reported on the "Highway of Heroes" in Canada where thousands line the highway and overpasses grieving over our fallen. These families ( and soldiers) need to be shown that their sacrifice is felt all over the country and not just with them. The media has the power to soften some of the pain by spreading the news and showing the families that we grieve with them Jack. Don't take it for granted that they know, show them.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  99. John in LA

    It's very moving and personal to me when I see these men and women honored publicly for their service.

    I'm glad that military families now have the choice–to honor our American heroes in this way.

    It is–and should ALWAYS have been–their decision to make.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  100. Mike – Denver, CO

    It means the families do not want their sons and daughters to be forgotten or to have died in vein. The fact that the mainstream media has forgotten them already shows they care more about what Brittany Spears had for breakfast than the lives sacrificed by our country.

    ps. Jack, thank you for remembering.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  101. Tom Fisher

    Jack,
    I believe that the families of fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines understand the loss to themselves and our nation. I think they feel the need for the country to understand that loss as well.
    By making this footage open to the media, the country stands to see the picture much more clearly.
    Tom

    April 28, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  102. Joe CE

    It is well to respect family wishes not to have caskets photographed. It it also a very good thing to allow such photos where there is nio objection. The purpose of the ban was to reduce public awareness of casualties.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  103. LisaB

    Hi Jack,
    As a former servicemember and now a proud Army wife, I would like to thank you for a discussion on this subject. I find it amazing how little the general public knows about military families and our lives.

    The public should be able to watch these ceremonies since it is the general American public that we sacrifice for. We are proud of our family members who serve. They fight the good fight out of honor and patriotism. The former president and his administration did not want these events seen, I believe, simply out of shame and guilt of a war that they knew was built on a lie. If the public does not see these types of events then essentially it is not even happening and they will never understand the true sacrifice of these Soldiers and their families.

    Fort Benning,
    Georgia

    April 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  104. Gerald Hornsby

    Jack; I think it is a desire on the part of the families to make the politicians in both the United States and Canada realize exactly what the cost of these wars are in terms of the waste of so many bright young individuals who might have had so much to give to to there countries. indeed they have answered the call to duty and have made the ultimate sacrifice.My sincerest condolences to all their families

    April 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  105. Jay in Texas

    Only those individual families have the answer to that but I am happy the Obama Administration allowed the media to cover these fallen heroes again. Americans need to be reminded daily of the sacrifices so many American soldiers and their families and friends have made and continue to make in the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are all responsible for allowing our government to send these brave Americans overseas to fight in these wars and for continuing to keep them there.
    Brownwood, Texas

    April 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  106. Pat in Greensboro

    Families of our fallen soldiers want the American public to understand the sacrifice our troops make every day. By covering their return, it is another way for us to acknowledge this sacrifice and pay our last respects. These heroes deserve this final viewing by the American public.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  107. Wilma from Atlanta Georgia

    It meant before the government care more about covering its butt than what the greiving family wanted done. This way if the family wants privacy, it can have it. If they want their family member remembered, they can have that as well. How much simple could it be? Their sacrifice should be honored the way they choose for it to be – not some government official.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  108. Conor in Chicago

    It means that they never agreed with the Bush administrations attempts to pretend like we weren't really destroying our country by attacking Iraq at the behest of the Elite in the United States. Seeing coffins isn't good for their bottom line.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  109. Chelsea

    None of us can truely know what's going through the minds of those families. Anger, grief, heartbreak, frustration?! Maybe they just want their son, daughter, spouse to be more than a statistic or a number we see on a TV screen. It gives us a glimpse into true misery.

    April 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  110. Shawna

    Jack,
    I feel they would like the country to see thier brave children and family members are dying for a needless political war that only benefited Bush, Cheney and thier kind of politics.... our servicemen and women should always be honored....

    April 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  111. perry jones

    I would think they want the world and the people to understand why they have the rights they have these men and women that have fallen are the front line for all your rights. I personally don’t think some media out lets should ever cover any part of this they don’t have the moral reasoning they condemn the men and the women In there defense of this nation and they should be beaten with a stick
    Regards perry jones

    April 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  112. leah, Vancouver, Canada

    Canada has a tradition of honouring our fallen heroes not only at the airport when they sadly arrive home but along the route showing our respect and gratitide for their service..

    Did anyone in America know that we have lost more brave soldiers in Afghanistan per capita than any other country including the United States/

    April 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  113. Scott in Canada

    Personally, I think the bigger question is "what does it say about the state of our media with three 24hr news channels when no one shows up to see the bodies come back?"

    April 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  114. Darin

    They want to see their family members honored. Maybe there are families that realize the lives lost in the war are no longer going unnoticed. It should serve as a wake up call to pull our troops out and end this bogus war for good.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  115. Karen - Missouri

    I think that's up to the families as to what it means. I am not here to judge.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  116. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    I can't tell if it means that they want the country to see it because they want the country to see unnecessary loss or because they see it as righteous sacrifice and are wearing their pain on their sleeve. It could just be that people have more sophisticated views on death and dying and don't think the body has value after death, and certainly do not feel an invasion of privacy about the filming of a box.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  117. Jan - Baltimore

    It means that the families "get it" - while Americans don't agree with the war itself - they do support those who are doing the fighting - and feel the need to do the least that they can do and pay respect to those who have given their lives in fighting in the war. For too many years the casualties were kept hidden - it's much easier to debate and ruminate - when you can't see the ultimate costs.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  118. DT

    It means that families want their service men/women honored like they should be. Anyone who fights for our freedom is due honor and respect period. We worship actors, musicians, and other celebs but it's about time we give praise to people who deserve it.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  119. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    As was the case during Vietnam families are realizing that the only way to end a war is to let the public see the real tragedy of war.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  120. Ronald Holst

    Jack The only thing I can say is they want America not only see the sacrifice that there loved one made is personal but It should also be viewed through the lens Of the Loss to our nation as a whole .
    Witch It is And we all should morn .

    Ron Holst
    San Antonio, TX. 78250

    April 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  121. DJ

    From Fort Walton Beach Florida and to me It means that families want their service men/women honored like they should be. Anyone who fights for our freedom is due honor and respect period. We worship actors, musicians, and other celebs but it’s about time we give praise to people who deserve it.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  122. Tony of Louisiana

    Well Jack,

    Being a newly veteran, most military families want the media to cover their loved ones. Mostly because, it would mean that that nation would know that they have not died in vain. And familys want the nation to know their story.

    Tony from Louisiana

    April 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  123. Steve, Clifton,VA

    Jack

    What it means is that these families want these men and women who come from a very small segment /group of American citizens to recognize the sacrifices made the to honor these brave and courageous soldiers. It is one of the only opportunities where the U S citizenry at large, the families and people that these men and women died for, honored beyond the small group of American families that these soldiers come from, but on a national basis these . We owe them that!!!

    Steve
    Clifton, VA

    April 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  124. Lance Schumacher

    It means that the families are justifiablly proud of their fallen heros. This can continue only as long as the leftist media does not turn it into a media circus platform for the anti-military minority.
    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    April 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  125. Karen

    When you lose a loved one because he was serving his country a family should have the right to let the American people be aware of their loss. Unless you have lost someone serving the people, don't pass judgement . My husband was a police officer and was shot in the line of duty. I can not begin to tell you how hard I took his death. At that time, I wanted every one to know about him and that he gave his life for them.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  126. michael armstrong sr.

    mike from sherman tx. dear jack it means that they want people to know of the greatest sacrifise a family could make was made by there loved one and the whole country should share in there grief . may god bless our fragile country and may god watch over our dead heros.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  127. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Because "Americans" become a "witness" to their death-–and without a witness--no one would know.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  128. Jerry; Alpharetta, GA

    These families have all experienced an enormous loss yet they still retain pride in what their loved ones are trying to accomplish to protect America and the American way of life. Americans need to be constantly reminded of the sacrifices these young people are making. It is shameful how the media hits on what they think is the next HOT story and then move quickly on. These sacrifices are more than just a hot story and a quick video, they represent the soul of America. A day should not go by without remembering the sacrifices that are being made for all of us.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  129. Brian - Trinidad

    I think it means that these families want the public to know and understand the sacrifices and the sufferings that military families must endure that no one else does.Its not about pro or anti-war,but about the country witnessing the cost and understanding the price of the freedoms we all enjoy.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  130. Ron in Ohio

    It means that we are in two wars and instead of hiding it as the Right has promoted, the families desire us to see the results of war. It is more important that the NBA playoffs.Soldiers give their lives for us. We should at least be aware of it. By the way, what happened to the reporting from the frontlines when reporters were embedded with soldiers on the front at the start of the wars?

    April 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  131. Jamal Saint Petersburg, FL

    It means alot, the more Americans see fallen heroes, the more respect they will have for them. These scandals in the VA hospitals, the utter disrespect being shown to disabled Vets, and the lack of assistance for those already fighting the good fight, I believe will be met with greater public outcry if dead soldiers, are treated like something much more important than just news.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  132. Steve Chester Springs Pa.

    Jack:
    Even in death the media still confers status. Funerals of heads of state have been televised for years. A brief glimpse of a loved one arriving home a fallen hero is their equivalent.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  133. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    It means that the secretive world of George Bush has finally faded into obscurity. The country needs to see the solemn ceremonies honoring our dead soldiers so we can mourn along with the families. It was wrong to hide the fact that so many soldiers were coming home under the cover of darkness because the former president felt that the American people wouldn't think so many died if we couldn't see them coming home! I guess he thought we were all idiots!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  134. Tara Wright - Forest City, NC

    I think it means that they don't see media coverage as the exploitation the right wing feared it would be. Instead, it's a fitting tribute to a patriot who made the ultimate sacrifice. However, I do find it sad that our media can't find it in their duties to pay proper tribute for any sustained period of time. I realize other news keeps happening, but for the families of those fallen, there is no news that takes precedent over the sad homecoming of their loved ones in a flag covered box. They all deserve better than to be ignored while the media chooses to focus on something "more important" for the time slot.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  135. Eric R.

    It means these families want everyone to know their loved ones gave their all for this country and no matter what your political views are this person died for their country and for their comrades on their left and their right.

    Eric R.
    Towson, MD

    April 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  136. Michelle (Rio Rancho, NM)

    I think it means exactly what has happened: the media and the public have lost interest. They lost interest in the wars for the most part some time ago, and now that these photos are no longer taboo they're not interesting anymore, either. Give people a good scare like the swine flu or a fascinating publicity stuntress like octomom and the attention will easily be turned elsewhere. My hope is the families are at least provided copies of the photos for their own comfort. I can’t imagine the wives, parents, and children who make the decision to have the photos taken are shocked that this country doesn’t care enough about our fallen to want to see pictures of their homecoming. These families have sacrificed so much sending loved ones into harm’s way and they’re sadly used to that going unrecognized and unappreciated other than in political rhetoric.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  137. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    I suggest that it means that the families want respect for their fallen members and that they want to bring attention to the terrible waste of life that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are causing. We all acknowledge (except for that dying species, Republicans) that these wars are senseless and were entered into by way of lies and deception and serve only to incite terrorism directed at the US for violating their sovereignty. These men and women are heroes and it is a terrible shame that they have accomplished nothing useful but that is the responsibility of those who sent them to their deaths with such abandon.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  138. mitchell, arkansas

    It means the bush administration were fools for thinking they could fight a war, without displaying "honor and sacrifice". When the truth is purposefully withheld for propaganda purposes only, our nation suffers, as a whole. Government must always trust the people with the truth. If not, then we lose the 'spirit' of what founded this Nation. Republicans are finally being forced to realize this.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  139. Amy

    As a wife of a soldier currently stationed in Iraq. I know that if the unthinkable would happen, I would let it be covered by the press. I think that like most military families, we want to show the public what we are sacrificing for the freedoms of everyone. A story that is often only told after a death. A fallen soldier shouldn't be just a tragedy to family; It is a tragedy for the entire nation. If others might shed a tear for our loved ones, it helps us heal. Knowing that others, not in the military, might share in that grief, adds more meaning to the loss; and that it wasn't in vain. Having that option to tell America how we lost our husbands, fathers, sons and brothers is important .Those stories should be told by the families so that they aren't glossed over in a press release from the Defense Department.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  140. Michael Sullivan from Lafayette, California

    Jack - It means that the families of our fallen heroes are fed up with the
    original lies and deception that led us into war and want to show the people of our country and around the world what their loved ones as well
    as themselves have sacrificed.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  141. Pugas-AZ

    It is each family's call and we should all respect that.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  142. Jane (Minnesota)

    I think the media should cover the returns; these soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country in a war in Iraq that was started for the wrong reasons. The american public needs to see what the human cost of the wars are so we don't forget to bring these actions to a close as soon as possible. We owe that much to these families. It was wrong to stop the coverage in the first place.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  143. Jeannette Toronto Canada

    Proud, yet sorry for the lost of their love ones.. especially considering the unnecessary and deceptions placed upon, not only America but the rest of the World. We are all family when we hear of a fallen soldier! We stand shoulder to shoulder, even if we agree or disagree the war.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  144. Ralph Nelson

    They want the sacrifices their loved one made for this country recognized. Ralph, Yakima, Wa. Vietnam vet.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  145. Charles Illinois

    It means "America we can do better than WAR" No more WARS!. . Shame on Bush & Cheney for hiding this reality from Americans and the rest of the world, they knew they made a horrific mistake by invading Iraq and the body bags that were being returned was a conscious reminder of that mistake. May ALL the US Soldiers and coalition Soldiers who loss their lives, rest in peace.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  146. Katiec Pekin, IL

    It means they are willing for the American people to see all aspects of war and it's consequences.
    It is also is honoring our solders and their loved ones. Confirming
    the respect and support we have for those who have given their
    lives.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  147. LDR in Central Texas

    It means the families want the rest of the country to witness, recognize, and respect their loved ones' sacrifices– ones that were paid for all of us.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  148. Jean, Indiana

    The family's choice to allow media coverage means the country can witness and pay its respect to the fallen soldier, support the family during their mourning and work to insure that no soldier is sent to harm's way for less than noble reasons.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  149. dave

    Jack,
    It show me they want their love ones respected and let everyone know that a person gave this country the ultimate sacrifice their lifes. For this to be done outside of the pubilic view was a big mistake if the family want it.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  150. Linda in Arizona

    I think if I were a family of a fallen soldier or Marine, I would want acknowledgment given to their return. I guess most military families feel the same way.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  151. Dan from Alliance, OH

    It means they want the public to see what is real in this world. War is not a nice thing and the more we tell our children this maybe they will stop thinking those violent video games are fun or cool.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  152. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    It means they are proud to be able to share the sacrifice of their loved ones with the rest of the country.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  153. Kim - Blair, NE

    Change is good! It is more than past time to acknowlege the families of our fallen soldiers with more than a few insincere words during a speech while lying about why we are in Iraq in the first place.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  154. Lynn

    If my loved one died for this country then the country should share in the grief by respecting the viewing of the coffins and the media needs to find a way to honor our returning dead not just by putting their names on a list but by showing the return. We must never forget the cost of life in decisions made by our leaders to take our military into harm's way.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  155. Deborah in Blue Springs, MO

    As a former military brat and military wife, I can tell you unequivocally that those grieving families want their sacrifice to be acknowledged, if only for a moment. Maybe CNN should assign a permanent crew to the return of our Heroes. If no one joins you, make it an exclusive. Just let them be seen. It's the least our country can do, considering their sacrifice!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  156. Jackie in Dallas

    It means that the initial ban was motivated by political reasons, not to "protect the privacy" of the families. There is no way to identify the fallen as they are returned, and I think it is obscurely comforting to see how respectfully they are tended to and handled. Also, I think it should be comforting for the families to know that through those photographs, their loss is being mourned by far more people than they can imagine as we are reminded again of how wasteful the Iraqi war is, and how forgotten the Afghani war is - and how expensive in terms of precious American lives that both wars are.

    By the way, I'm a Vietnam era veteran, myself, and know of a number of families who actually saw loved ones killed on the news before they were even notified by the military of their deaths. Now THAT's a invasion of the family's privacy!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  157. Nancy, Tennessee

    When a person loses a loved one, it doesn't matter if it is in war or not, they want the rest of the world to know "my loved one is dead". This is the same way I felt when I lost my mother. I couldn't understand how everybody else's life was just going on as usual because my mother had died and they should acknowledge it and fee part of my pain.
    These families probably feel the same way and because their fallen hero died for all of us, we should acknowledge that their loved one has died.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  158. Jackie in Dallas

    Isn't it sad that media interest has dropped off so much? I've always known that the ban was political, and didn't stem from the families. There is no way to identify the fallen as they are carried out of the transport so I could see no invasion of privacy. Instead, I find it comforting to know that the fallen are handled so respectfully, and that despite the number of dead that they handle, the Angels at the U.S. Mortuary Center still mourn each and every one. I hope that the families know that their fallen ones are mourned, not just by their family, friends, and town, nor just by their battalions or squads, but by people all across the nation who see those images and see the cost paid for those wars in the real terms.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  159. Eleanora Feucht, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

    It means that they want their loved one's death to be acknowledged. Not as Barbara Bush said, "they just want my boy to feel bad" I think they should have the full nine yards, the presentation of the American Flag to the family with the words, "a grateful nation" etc. also, if appropriate, a twenty one gun salute, Whatever we do to honor someone' s sacrifice in defense of his country is appropriate and the family will feel their loved one did not die in vain.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  160. Econmavin in Allentown

    They are proud of their fallen and wish that the rest of us should see. They also, probably, feel that all of us need to know the cost of of governments actions. Prohibiting the pictures covers up the cost of war.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  161. Jason

    Parent and families should be proud of their fallen children. These Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines gave their lives in hostile lands to protect our lives back here. Whether or not you agree with the war, or our presence in foreign countries, you have to respect the brave men and women who've made this sacrifice.

    Let them be honored.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  162. Marietta

    Our soldiers to be given finally the honor they desire..makes us take a strong look next time we go to war..no one wins in wars–this was unjust war period..Even the Pope said so...bush cheney should hide hide in the dark..they ignored the warning from CIA and FBI we were going to be attack back in Aug- then came 911–why why why did they both Bush Cheney ignore ignore it?? who makes us safer please.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  163. Missy M

    What does it mean if most military families want the media to cover the return of fallen troops to the U.S.?

    Jack,
    I don't think it's political. I think families just want their loved ones memorialized and not forgotten. The fact that the media has lost interest in covering the return of fallen troops demonstrates just how pointless the ban was anyway.

    Missy M. Phoenix, Arizona

    April 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  164. Jason, CA

    Plain and simple Jack. Military families want the media to know the honorable sacrifice their child has made

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  165. pete at the beach

    I Salute the soldiers and their families they have given inspite of the evil bestowed on them by bush/cheney

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  166. Gerard

    Jack: In the end, media interest in the return of individual soldiers' remains will wane, and the only ones left to receive them will be the ones who will never forget them: their families. Maybe there is a salutary lesson here about flags and coffins. Some people wave them, some people end up in them. Catch the people who wave them at the next election in a town near you.

    Gerard
    Calverton, New York

    April 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  167. Kim

    My son recently returned home to us from a deployment to Iraq. Thankfully, he is alive and well (although a Purple Heart recipient). I think lifting the ban was the right and honorable thing to do, and I think both Bush Presidents shamelessly used the military for photo-ops when they wanted to ( i.e. the "mission accomplished fiasco), but mandated the tragic human costs of war be censored. Our nation needs to see that its men and women can, and do, become casualties of war. Also, I think the press has always been respectful and would treat the ceremonies with the dignity and honor each soldier deserves.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  168. Deb in Indiana

    It means that family, friends & most people in general value the lives of our fallen heros. Unlike the former Bush administrations...

    April 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  169. Trevor Frampton

    The Soviets covered up the deaths of their soldiers when they were in Afghanistan...family members weren't even supposed to talk about it. We are not going to let that happen to our brave men and women and I think Obama is right to allow this to be covered. I think the choice to allow coverage helps keep the wars as an issue that must be discussed and resolved. It also allows the family a chance to show pride in the service and sacrifice their loved one gave.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  170. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    This is the most valuable thing they owned,maybe they us to stop the dehumanization of war?

    April 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  171. frankie

    Everyone needs to grieve their own way. It is good that the families can now make their own decision. Their feelings are so much more important than a policy decision.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  172. Bryan

    It means they want US to remember their fallen one. To honour them publicly with dignity. Where is the dignity in being hidden from the nation that they died serving?

    I think it is shameful and disrespectful.

    In Canada we have the 'Highway of Heroes', where citizens gather to honour the fallen soldiers from overpasses every time they return from Afghanistan and are transported to the local base for autopsy.

    I hope similar displays are allowed to take place in the USA, that these men aren't invisible.

    Calgary, Canada

    April 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  173. Richard From Florida

    Jack : My son is a Proud Marine and I'm a Proud Father.He is in Afganistan now and was in Iraq just this past December. I hope and pray never to feel the pain and suffering,suffered by true Americam families. But if it did happen I want the GOP to see what being American really is. I think its a way to tell them this is what WAR really is.Its not a game,its for real.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  174. Ken in NC

    It means they want us to share in the return of OUR fallen heroes.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  175. G. Martinez

    I think it means they want to share their fallen hero with us. They want us to know that someone is paying a precious price in this war.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  176. Alex

    I live in Canada and we have dead soldiers coming back from Afghanistan every week these days. Here we show their arrival in the flag draped coffin and all the pomp & circumstance on TV. We have a thing called the "Highway of Heroes" in which thousands of Canadians stand on bridges over the highway as the hearse rolls by, paying their respects. I feel that this ritual is powerful, showcases Canadian patriotism and allows the public and families a grieving process.

    For whatever stupid reason elder Bush decided to do this ban, I feel he has cheated families and communities in the U.S. from honoring their soldiers publicly. His son continued this ban for obvious political reasons. It is ironic that those who deem themselves so patriotic in the states during the Bush administration were actually hurting soldier's families all along. These fallen soldiers are real life heroes and deserve the recognition they have cheated out of by the Bushes. I commend President Obama for lifting this ban and allowing the public to see the grim realities of war, so that they can understand that a nation should never enter a conflict unless absolutely necessary. But also I thank him for allowing the families of the fallen to be proud of their soldiers and to be able to grieve properly.

    Shame on both Bush administrations!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  177. Jacques , Ottawa

    Only the spouses or parents or close family can decide that. If it means much to have their return covered, so be it. If they don't want it ot happen, so be it also. They died bravely for their country , right or wrong, loved ones decide. Certainly not the government that sent them wastefully in harm's way to decide, and even less the likes of Bush and Cheney, god bless us, they're gone.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  178. Katrina in Deltona, Fl

    Never having lost a loved one to war, I can only say what I think I would feel. These people have given the ultimate sacrifice to their country, and I would want people to know that. It helps share the grief. It also helps wake up the rest of the country to the actual price we are paying for the wars we the people don't initiate, but we the people suffer for. Every single one of them deserves recognition, and I think it's appalling and sad that the media has already lost interest. Apathy is one of our greatest enemies.

    Katrina,
    Deltona, FL

    April 28, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  179. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    Someone once said war is hell. When our warriors make the ultimate sacrifice and their flag-draped coffins return, a grateful nation has a right to see the consequence of war and share in the family bereavement. I pray for their families, friends, and loved ones.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  180. Chris, Denver

    It means that each fallen troop deserves the credit and honor where it is due. It is also a reminder to every citizen that there is still war going on overseas and that their lives should not be taken for granted. May God bless all of the troops serving abroad.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  181. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The media covered our brave soldiers as heros during their deployment and the fallen deserve the same respect of media coverage that all soldiers receive upon return.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  182. vern livingston- anaheim,ca

    i never favored the idiotic bush policy ,the policy now allows parents ,relatives and next of kin to mourn in their own way and lets the public know the high price of fighting in this uncalled and foolish war the republicans got us into

    April 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  183. Derek Johnson

    It means that the families of the fallen U.S. soldiers want the rest of the country to see the true cost of war. By showing the flag draped caskets of the fallen soldiers also makes the rest of the country see how horrible, and unforgivable the lies that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the rest of the Bush administration told the country to get the support for the Iraq War, which has turned out to be not only a disaster for the United States, but for the entire middle east and the rest of the world.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  184. Kevin H

    It's the Dover Test ... allowing Americans to see how many of our fallen heroes come home through Dover AFB will help bolster support for getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  185. Kristin from Sherman Oaks, CA

    The majority of families wanting, or allowing, press coverage means the Bush administration never did it to 'protect' them; it was to protect their own agenda.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  186. Elisabeth, Bloomington, IN

    The heros that have payed the ultimate sacrifice of life deserve America's full attention. The point that the majority of the families are for the public viewing of this sad occassion, speaks volumes. Finally we have a President that sees a link between death of American lives and the fruitlessness of the Iraqi War. May this action have a small part in causing this war to end that much sooner.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  187. Jin Tsuchiya

    It means that these families know that their fallen son or daughter is the true cost of this bogus war. Spending trillions of dollars cannot bring back a single life.

    Morton Grove, Illinois

    April 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  188. Eric Bracke

    There are two meanings, Jack. First, it means the loved ones of the fallen want to share their grief with the public. Second, it means that it probably wasn't a big deal to the media to begin with and you folks have moved on to the next story in the news cycle.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  189. Michael F.

    To me it seams that families want their loved ones to be honored among Americans and not to be shown to be simply pawns fighting Bush's oil war.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  190. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    The decision of the family of the fallen must prevail in all cases. Now that the coverage issue has been settled the 'story' has ended and no ink or air will be considered for use on 'old news'. This is the tragedy of a selfish and uncaring media. The real story was the ultimate sacrifice and not the ratings. The loss of compassion and humility is appalling.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  191. David Soares

    They want to remind of us the true cost of war, and we should be reminded. The fact that the Bush Administration banned these displays is typical of everything about George Bush and Cheney–Spin or hide the upleasantness, dont deal with it.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  192. walt jerrell

    Jack
    I think all of the families of our hero's are proud of them. Most seem to believe that the citizens they gave thier lives for, deserve to see them come home. God Bless them all.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  193. Ed Minyard

    This all started with Clinton and Mogadishu. He banned reporters from the return of those fallen heroes, simply to covers his keester. Its never right to deny the fallen their last parade.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  194. Kate from Saskatchewan, Canada

    It's sad that more media is not covering the arrival home of fallen soldiers. In Canada, it is a moving ceremony that brings home to all of us the sacrifices that these soldiers and their families have made on behalf of all of us. Our media here cover each homecoming.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  195. Ron from SF

    You're right Jack, the policy was soley to protect the politicians who wanted war. Because Iraq was a divided nation's war, they desperately Tortured to justify the lies that got us in this mess. Because it was not supported universally, they had to hide the physical, emotional and financial costs. To keep it going they had to spy on Average Americans and muzzle dissent. All of it, every stinking bit was to cover their 6 on Iraq. Regardless of your position on Iraq or any war, you should watch this process. It's devastating and we should never again go to war unless we aren't willing to watch this ceremeny and say to ourselves–it was worth it.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  196. Annette

    As a mother of an army infantry sergeant who has served two deployments to Iraq, I welcome the decision to raise the ban. If, God forbid, my son is every killed in action, I would want to honor his courage and make sure that the country never forgets the war that continues so far away.
    Hopefully, this will keep the huge sacrifice of these men, women, their spouses, children and families in the forefront of the American mentality. It's the least we can do.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  197. Michael

    As a proud Air Force Veteran I truly believe its the choice of the family to have the return of a loved one covered. I personally think that it is a good idea. Many in this country truly fail to realize and understand what the ultimate price paid for the freedoms we enjoy. I just truly hope that the media continues to cover the return of our fallen heroes and clearly illustrate the real results of what war truly means.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  198. Karl from SF, CA

    Military families are very proud of their fighting loved ones as well they should be. With a few exceptions, which are understandable for some families preferring privacy, they want their soldiers and sailors service and sacrifice to be honored by the entire country when they come home for the last time. It is sad the media interest has waned. The restrictions on this for the past 18 years has made it too easy for all of us to forget or be unaware of how many fine men and women have actually died for our freedom. Sadly, out of sight is out of mind, as Bush, our last two war Presidents, wanted it.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  199. Judy Franklin

    What does it mean? That's easy. It means that our military families want the US and the World to know that their family member mattered. We should all acknowledge that not all military returns to hugs and kisses from their families. Some of them return to tears. We all should share the tears. Inside every flag draped casket lies a hero. God bless every one of them.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  200. Steve Courtney

    It is an excellent idea to let the families of fallen soldiers decide whether they would like their losses honored by dignified media coverage. And the decline in such coverage since the rules were changed is more a sign of the implosion of newspapers nationwide than of media insensitivity. Local newspapers in the past would have moved heaven and earth to cover their fallen sons and daughters - but today the decimation of newspaper budgets makes this a budgetary impossibility.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  201. Don

    I think it's pretty obvious: These families are proud of the sacrifices their loved ones have made, and see no reason not to let the world know it. However wroing-headed a war may be, the service of these men and women deserves everyone's respect.
    It is disgusting that previous governments have chosen to ignore that, in the name of "image control" for their policies, and about time that wrong is righted. – Don in Soulsbyville, Calif.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  202. Mike from Little Rock

    It means that the families want the public to know that it's people that are dying over there. Not just numbers.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  203. Bobby Rice, Baltimore

    To give us a reality check Jack....sometimes we get so caught up into politics, reality tv, and sports....that we often forget there are everyday people dying for us, so that we can have a better life.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  204. Archie from Arkansas

    The decision to stop coverage of the returning war dead ceremonies was for the government's benefit. Bush Sr. had no idea what the casualty rate was going to be and didn't want the media to cover the war as they did during Viet Nam.

    We need Nam-type coverage for all wars. It gives us perspective and allows us to see the horror of war.

    Old Grunt

    April 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  205. Ali

    Jack, I think it means that military families want Americans to see the true cost of this war. If one image can strike enough disdain in the hearts of the public masses, maybe we would have announced a withdrawal a long time ago. Too bad the Bush Dynasty decided we couldn't handle it.

    Chicago, IL

    April 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  206. Chris, Minnesota

    It means that, despite the wishes of the majority of military families, the media will cover what it thinks is important, whether others think it is important or not.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  207. Jim Burroughs

    Not only does the press have the right to cover these solemn and sad ceremonies, we as citizens have the obligation to view them.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  208. Terri - Tulsa

    Having lost a nephew in Iraq, I can tell you quite confidently that the reasoning behind allowing the media in is grief driven. Grief is extremely difficult to go through and survive alone. Also, in today's world where support of military action in the Middle East is so low, I know that some families are also considering it a way to say, "Here's another reason we shouldn't be there." Every time I see a picture from the arrival of a fallen soldier, I shed tears and pray it never has to happen again....and that is what every family member does as wel.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  209. Fred Mt. Vernon

    Bravo OBama

    At last we can say good bye to our heros

    April 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  210. Rachel

    I think it's sad how a parent could be so offended. We see crosses displayed everywhere, people even wear the crucifix. It is all to honor a man who supposedly died to save others. We know for certain that the only people coming back have shown this compassion for others and deserve to be honored. Showing the coffins clearly puts the truth of this war in your face when we are still lucky enough to live in this country without seeing what our soldiers see. My sister is in the Army and if she died I would want the same respect given to her martyrdom as people give to JC every day.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  211. Tim

    I live in the U.S. and remember driving down the highway in Canada and seeing all the people standing on the bridge overpasses for miles and miles. When I realized why they were there, to watch the procession of a fallen soilder, it was pretty emotional and moving. Getting to the hotel there was extensive coverage in the media on who the person was with interviews of all sorts of people- from family, friends, and people just watching. I wished we could do the same thing in the U.S. They are definitely light years ahead of us on this issue and we should learn from them.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  212. Stephen Chamberburgs PA

    During Viet Nam i had the privilege to escort the body of one of my fallen platoon members back to his family in California. It was a very rare event, because the Navy did not usually allow a Corpsman this kind of duty. He was a fellow Corpsman and the Company Commander allowed me to do it. The family already knew about me from letter Freds' had written. It was the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. I still keep in touch with them to this day. If they sacrifice a loved one for the country, the country should be aware of it.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  213. John

    Here in Canada we honour our returning dead with full military pomp and ceremony, including the attendance of the Governer General, Minister of Defence and Chief of Staff with the family and press. We then line the bridges over the 401 Highway from Trenton, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario with Canadian Flags and signs. Also we have changed that portion of the highway to honour them. All honour should be given to these brave men and women of both nations for their ultimate sacrifice for us to be free. God Bless Canada and the United States of America.

    John
    Riverview, New Brunswick, Canada

    April 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  214. Giny

    Jack, I am the mother and grandmother of soldiers who have served in Iraq and will shortly serve in Afghanistan. Little has been asked of those who do not wish to serve in the current wars. The least our nation can do is to recognize and honor those who give all so others can enjoy the protection their service provides every day of their life. To do less would be hypocritical!

    April 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  215. Jesse, Texas

    What it means is that many American families are celebrating the service and honoring the sacrifice of thier family members. We should all have such respect and I believe our new administration made the correct choice by allowing these to become public, so long as the families were ok with it. I believe the media should have the same respect for those who want the ceremonies covered as it does for those who do not, and show up when they are allowed, regardless of the value of the story. We should honor the fallen, and that includes honoring thier families for their sacrifice as well.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  216. Ann Perry Garland Tx

    I am glad that Pres. Obama overturned the law and it lets the American people see these brave men and women come back home a war that Bush started and they have fought so brave.We need to say a prayer ever time we see them arrive.God Bless everone of them and their familys.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  217. stormerF

    Stupidity...Reins,why would anyone want to see flag drapped coffins,you want to see how many military have been kiild,go to arlington national cemetery....Or visit the Wall in D.C...How stupid can all of you be? If a Family member gives premission,for the media to photo graph a returning flag drapped coffin,does that mean only that one coffin,or are they photographing more coffins? Than they have premission for?

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  218. Patrick in San Francisco

    We give police officers and firefighters who pay the ultimate price very public services. Why not the same for those in the military? It is sad that the former administration hid any part of such a solemn ceremony from our view, and did not allow us to watch and reflect on the sacrifices these men and women made for us.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  219. Elena

    It means that their family has paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of our country and that their loved one, who fought bravely, should be honored by each and every one of us.
    Thank you
    Elena California

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  220. Glen Calibaba

    Jack, you say that the Government implemented this policy to protect themselves. I disagree with that because people are not that naive that they need pictures of caskets to realize that soldiers die in war.
    I do think that it is safe to say, that those same anti Bush media organizations that were calling for the caskets to be shown were doing so with the hope of a certain response against the war and previous administration. Once they realized that they were not going to get the response that they hoped for, they stopped covering it, pathetic, would you not agree.

    Saskatchewan

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  221. R E Wood

    Most families probably want their sons and daughters honered and not to have their deaths hidden to make the war more palatable to the general public. It was a Bush policy. Thank God Obama changed it.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  222. John

    I think it is a reflection of the pride these families and the public have for our armed forces. Photos of flag draped coffins should be a testament to the sacrifice of these individuals, their families, and communities. I served in Iraq in a 'surge' brigade and I would like to thank the American public and government for giving such support to the armed forces and its members. I will never forget the volunteers waiting at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to welcome us home and the endless care packages I recieved while overseas. Thank You!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  223. Barry From Indiana

    The families now have the choice to have the media cover this and it is good. It is a daily reminder to Americans that soldiers are still their lives in these wars. Whether the current wars are just is up to debate, but it is good to remind people about more important issues other than money. I feel the more coverage of our fallen soldiers, the more pressure will go to washington to finally bring our troops home.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  224. Susan MacDonald

    Many families want others to know of the sacrifice their family member has made in service to his/her country. Media coverage adds a certain solomn importance to this sacrifice. It makes us all aware and causes pause for prayer for all family members who must continue on without their loved one. Families should be offered special consideration whether to allow or disallow media coverage.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  225. John, Tucson Az.

    I feel that most families don't object to the coverage because they want people to honor their loved ones service. It would be next to impossible to witness the return and not acknowledge the meaning of the sacrifice. The fact that the coverage was banned is a statement of the past administrations denial of the true cost of war, human suffering and tragedy.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  226. Audrey

    It doesn't matter what the families want, It should, but doesn't. It's most likely up to those who are still loyal to this war and the Bush Administration. The news industry is a business, and a BIG business. They want the money, whichever way it comes in. It means more to those pro-war that don't want the returns covered, than the families wanting it covered.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  227. Ian - Belleville, ON

    I don't know how the families feel about coverage, but you should see the coverage that reporters and all Canadians give when a soldier is repatriated after being killed in Afghanistan. The body is flown into Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton, and then driven to Toronto. Canadians line the streets outside the base, and then line the bridge overpasses over the highway from Trenton to Toronto. That section of Highway 401 has now been named the Highway of Heroes.

    Search "Highway of Heroes" for articles.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  228. Francis, Philippines

    I think it's the family's way of honoring the fallen by letting the world know that they lost a loved one. As an officer I have seen many troops come home in body bags, and there is no greater pain for their families than to feel that no one knows their loss. Dying alone is hurtful for a soldier; dying anonymously is devastating to those whom they left behind. The media should continue to cover these stories to let everyone know that people are still dying, and become aware that there are more to combat losses than figures and numbers. The greatest respect the world can give them and their families is to acknowledge their passing and gain a sense of solidarity with their pain. We can only do that by seeing those coffins, and feelling the agony of a weeping family.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  229. Terri Clifton

    Dear Mr. Cafferty, I stood on that tarmac at Dover Air Force Base on a cold night in February 2005 watching the body of my son return home. It was a solemn, respectful, and honorable homecoming that went beyond political opinion. The American people have been asked to sacrifice nothing for this war, not even their peace of mind. We see images of returning troops full of joy at reunions with family. We should not look away when those troops return under our country's flag. Military families should not be the only citizens to face this reality.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  230. Alex Itenson

    Jack, take a good look at your northern cousins. Each repatriation of our fallen soldiers is a solemn ceremony attended by media only with the consent of the immediate family. However, the fence outside the airbase is always lined with appreciating, supporting citizens, from veterans and serving members of the Canadian Forces to young schoolchildren.

    Every overpass along our "Highway of Heroes", the interstate running from CFB Trenton, where the airplanes carrying the KIA from Afghanistan land, to the coroner's office in downtown Toronto, is lined with flag-waving, appreciative citizens.

    Each and every ramp ceremony is a solemn tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our troops, both men and women.

    We have no problem with sharing our grief, our sadness and our gratitude for a young life cut short in sacrifice for our Canada.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  231. Bill Wilkins

    I can understand why grieving parents want to bring attention to the fact that their children not only chose willingly to serve their country, but more importantly, lost their lives in the process. The parents are proud of their children, and want their patriotism to be honored. If the parents want positive media attention to highlight their children's sacrifice, they should get it. It is my opinion that it is nothing less than shameful that these proud parents are perceiving their children's sacrifice for our country as being brushed under the rug. Anytime the government makes personal decisions for us, our personal liberty is being taken away. Let's let families make decisions about media coverage, not the government!

    Bill Wilkins, Powder Springs, Georgia

    April 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  232. Danielle

    Hey Jack, It seems that everyone loves to see our soldiers come home. Families are proud of their children for what they have done for their country. It seems a shame for not doing this sooner for our men and women.

    Danielle

    Westfield, Pa

    April 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  233. Teresa

    Some of us are visual learners....we need to see the price this nation is paying for the war. When we see the pictures of all those coffins returning to us, maybe then we'll realize that actions have consequences. But, I'm afraid those realizations will only last a nano second until the next government official will prey on our fear of the terrorist, our fear of the foreign, our fear of the diverse, ....the weak, ....the socialists, the communists, the muslims, the catholics and of course don't forget the Mexicans! When actually, we should sit up and be wary of our own government.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  234. Joyce

    As the mother of a Marine that served bravely in the Anbar Province, fall of 2006, I can tell you that it is refreshing to have the families make the decision. The fine young men in my son's battalion were like my own family, and we grieved deeply with the deaths of six from his group. One was a young father, another an up and coming star in the Marine corp, liked by enlisted and higher-ups alike. The others were equally good men, taken in their prime, with families and loved ones. Their grief and the legacy of the lost loved one are a needed reality check to those who are untouched by both of these wars. I recall a store clerk, as I was purchasing items to send to my son's group, saying she thought that war was over and all the guys were back home! I was furious, but it wasn't her fault. It was what the government wanted – no one aware of what was going on. The individual stories of the lost men and women are very important to be known and honored – at the families' discretion.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  235. Jen in Puyallup, WA

    Jack, as the daughter of a disabled Vietnam Veteran and now the wife of a soldier I am happy that the ban has been lifted because people need to be reminded of the true cost of war. I We cannot just hear numbers, that doesn't always translate as well as a picture of a flag draped coffin. If God forbid I am put into the same position as the families of fallen, I definately want the media there at Dover. We shouldn't go to war without seeing the reality of the consequences. Its important to remember those who have given their lives for this country.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  236. Shaun

    Just heard Cafferty on the news. Tell me, are the families WANTING as he said, or ALLOWING the media??? There is a VERY big difference, please remember that.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  237. Ann Leake

    How very sad, that a family's loved one has given the Ultimate Gift to this country and no one seems to care. The least we can do is show up for the ceremony. My heart breaks for those families who must bring their sons and daughters home and folks aren't even there to record or mark the importance of their passing. Often, these are young lives cut short and families need to know that America appreciates their sacrifice and that that they are our heroes!

    Ann Leake
    Mentor, Ohio

    April 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  238. Mary England

    The media should keep showing the return of our fallen soldiers. Otherwise it will be 'Out of sight, Out of mind". People need to be reminded of the continued sacrifices of our military members and their families. If we put aside thoughts of those sacrifices it will be easier to keep allowing them than demand they be ended.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  239. Armywife

    Bush clearly saw our soldiers as chess pieces and failed to understand that it takes more than one player to play. However, in this current administration, the soldiers are getting the much deserved and belated respect. I hope that all Americans would take time and reflect on the thought that it is easier to hide the dirt under the carpet…but after a while the hill is too big to ignore.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  240. Judie Williams

    Our family would have been honored to have our member escorted in the most dignified manner when he first returned to this great country.
    Nick gave the ultimate sacrifice in '07 and we, as thousands of others who have lost loved ones, grieve.

    Lest we forget..........As Memorial Day approaches, it is not about sales, etc., it is a time when each of us, and all of us should pause a moment, and silently say "Thank you".

    April 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  241. Karen, TN

    Their families know we want a chance to honor them.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  242. Anna Hunt

    I think the families want to share their loss and make the public see the true cost of war, not just the monetary cost.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  243. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Jack,

    I understand the cynical point of view, but the reality is, 5 of the 19 (26%) did not want their loved one covered by the media. You may think the worst, but Bush Sr. probably knew that if the return of even one of these soldiers was exploited by the media and spun as a negative against the very beliefs that brave soldier died for, it would be too many. If the media steals one shred of dignity from our fallen heroes then Obama has failed them. Obama has rightfully left the decision up to the families and whether they think their loved ones will be honored or spun by the media vultures.

    April 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  244. Brian

    Jack, the better question to ask is, "What does it mean if most military families want the media to cover the return of fallen troops to the U.S. then the media fails to show up?

    April 28, 2009 at 6:44 pm |