The Deployment Diary

Friday, April 23, 2004

Coffin Photos

I've read both sides of the issue. I've debated myself, I've shared my view and refused to continue the conversation with one person due to the fact I had no interest in the person's view to begin with.

My feelings are:

My husband belongs to the United States of America as long as he's a soldier. In truth, even after retirement, they can call him back if they want to - and he has to return. Even after retirement, he belongs to the United States of America.

While serving this great nation, we sacrifice and so do our children. We do so with little complaint - other than the occasional bad day where we say we've had enough - to ourselves of course. Then we pull ourselves up and get on with living for the day they return - all the while being proud of the job they are doing and the character and pride in which they do it.

Truth be told, in life he belongs to this country. To go where needed. To serve and protect this great nation. To give everything he has and is to the mission and to his soldiers.

The least this country can do for the families of those who pay the ultimate price, is afford us the right to mourn in private. To not see the photo of our loved one's coffin on the front page of the local or a national newspaper. Not see photos of our loved one's coffin on websites. Not see these photos used by people against the war - the very people many of our loved ones detested.

In life, he belongs to this country. At the very least, in death he can finally belong only to me - where as his wife, I get to make the decision on whether or not I want these photo shared. We are deserving of that right and if nothing else, we have earned it. Honor our dead by respecting the privacy of the ones they leave behind. The ones who must find a way to face and live life without their husbands, fathers, sons, mothers, wives and daughters.

Military families deserve that much thought, respect and dignity. WE DO. They belonged to this country in life. In death, they finally belong only to us. Their memory belongs to their family and that memory should not begin nor end with a flag draped coffin.

We ask little of this nation. It is the least the citizens of this nation can do in return for the sacrifices and losses we willingly volunteer for in defense of this wonderful nation. Allow each of us to decide for ourselves...

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