February 27th, 2009
12:27 PM ET

End of image ban respects war dead

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/26/pentagon.media.war.dead/art.caskets.soldiers.gi.jpg]

Ralph J. Begleiter
Special to CNN

The reversal of two decades of policy on images of returning war casualties is an important and welcome milestone for the American people.

The Pentagon's decision announced Thursday allowing media coverage of coffins of war victims returning to Dover Air Force Base - if families agree - restores to its rightful, honorable place the immense value of the sacrifice American troops make on behalf of their nation. It allows the American people to honor the dignified and respectful return of war casualties to home soil for the last time.

Although no one should have a veto over the nation's ability to pay respects to its fallen troops, I believe most families will decide that their sons and daughters deserve to be recognized publicly for their sacrifice.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Pentagon • President George W. Bush
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Pat from Chicago

    I agree with the decision to leave it up to the families if they wish for the public to view their loved ones flag draped coffin. It is a private time for the family.

    Although, it also would be nice to share in that moment so that we can give honor to the fallen. We see horrible images of wounded and dead bodies of our fallen soldiers in the battle field. It would be so much nicer to pay our respects to the flag draped coffins with silence and a prayer.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  2. Liza

    As well as respecting the troops who have paid this price, it also is a potent reminder that we are at war. It reminds us of the costs, both human and fiscal. It might also spur an invigorated anti-war movement.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  3. katydidscards

    It's about time! I would like to see a cable channel where the names of the soldiers killed in the current wars are listed in a scroll. I think we all owe them and their families our attention and thanks for their sacrifice. We should go out of our way to remember them, not allow their deaths to be swept under the rug or hidden.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  4. Tony

    It is about time! Americans maybe losing their jobs but thousands are losing thier lives! Americans need to see hereos that give their life without questioning politics. They give so others can live the American dream and the true meaning of freedon! When you stand by a drapped solider's coffin you trully understand what our American flag is all about!

    February 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  5. Melissa

    Its about time. This should always have been done. It shows the true cost of war, gives respect to the dead for their sacrifice, and reminds us what it is that we're really involved in. By making it invisible, they dishonored their sacrifice.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  6. GF, Los Angeles

    I'm so happy the ban has ended. To hide our fallen soldiers to me was a shame. I felt as if this country was trying to hide and disregard their deaths. I respect a family's decision not to broadcast their child's arrival but for those who want to – they now have that right.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  7. Bev C.

    It should have been up to the families all along. The only reason it was banned by the Bush administration was purely political reasons – it had nothing to do with the feelings of the families. Did they think we would forget about these men and women because we couldn't view their caskets coming back home? God Bless our military.

    Bev, an Army brat

    February 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  8. jen

    I completely agree with Begleiter's commentary. The images should be shown as long as the family agrees. The ban on images of the soldiers' coffins makes me feel like we are trying to sneak them back into the country as if they didn't make the sacrifice. It is one thing to show graphic images of the dead that may incite emotion over reason but another to show a respectful account of reality.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  9. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    For all who gave some--–and for those who gave all---may the rest in peace---their war has ended--their image is the results of the "summation of all evil."

    February 27, 2009 at 12:39 pm |