Friday, April 30, 2004

Voices of the fallen 

The Mudville Gazette has posted a large excerpt from a wonderful essay written by the parent of a fallen soldier. It answers the people who complain that the President hasn't attended the funerals of soldiers, and explains in the most moving possible terms why the carping from the left over casualties is so insulting.

Here's the heart of the matter:

The words of criticism are the same now as they were last year. On Friday, Mark Shields criticized President Bush for not attending a single funeral and for his refusal to lift the ban on media coverage at Dover. That same day, the New York Times reiterated its editorial opinion to have the ban lifted, saying that though the "theory" seems to be that the pictures are intrusive to bereaved families, "it seems far more likely" that the Pentagon is eager to check "the impact that photos of large numbers of flag-draped coffins may have on the American public's attitude toward the war."

I have lived through the numbing sadness of going to Dover to pick up my son, and have experienced the body-shaking pain of having to lay to his final rest a member of the U.S. Military.

The idea of criticizing President Bush on his choice not to attend the funerals is ludicrous. The simple fact is that President Bush either attends all or attends none for to attend some could be interpreted as an insult to those fallen heroes whose funerals he is seen to have "spurned." Besides, the logistics are impossible. On the day that my son was being buried in New Jersey his two buddies he was killed with were being buried at the same time at opposite ends of Pennsylvania. What was the president to do when the helicopter crashed and killed 17 soldiers? How to attend 17 funerals without forcing the families to wait for the president?

I would not have wanted the president to attend my son's funeral for it would have changed the entire dynamic of the day. The church service was a "Celebration of the Life of Kyle Andrew Griffin" and had President Bush honored us with his presence that would have all changed. It would have become a media circus. I knew full well just exactly how much President Bush honors my son and I am comforted by that.

The arguments put forth to have the ban on media coverage lifted vary from allowing the American people to bear witness to the sacrifice of the soldiers and thus honor them, to the need to deny President Bush the opportunity to hide the real costs in human terms of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Steve Capus, executive producer of "NBC Nightly News," arrogantly and presumptuously spoke for me when he stated, "It would seem that the only reason somebody would come out against the use of these pictures is that they are worried about the political fallout." Well I am that SOMEBODY and as I looked at those pictures the tears were not running because of my worry about political fallout. In all the criticism there has never once been put forth a single argument of how having the media coverage lifted would be of benefit to the loved ones of these heroes. We are never taken into account. We are the collateral damage in this all so obvious ideological struggle.

Take a minute and read the whole thing.


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