Leaving it up to the families

With the rules barring the media from covering the return of flag-draped coffins to the United States about the expire, I’ve got to wonder: Who wants to be the jackass begging families to let you cover their loved-ones tragic journey home?

From the LA Times:

The new policy will leave it up to the families of slain service members to decide whether to allow the media to photograph the arrival of the remains in Dover.

“My conclusion was, we should not presume to make the decision for the families. We should actually let them make it,” (Defense Secretary) Gates said.

The question of media access has deeply divided the military as well as veterans and family groups.

Some favored keeping the ban, and others wanted to give families the option of allowing the media in, said Joyce Raezer, the executive director of the National Military Family Assn.

“We are hoping whatever comes out of this new policy accommodates a variety of wishes,” she said.

I’m split on whether the returning coffins should be covered by the media, but I wouldn’t want to be the reporter asking families to let me be there — though I’d do it anyway.

It’s important that Americans see the cost of war, so that it doesn’t become something we jump into lightly. As an aside, it’s almost important that coverage of the reasons we fight doesn’t fall by the wayside.

But that’s already a crummy assignment. I’ve always had a hard enough time maintaining composure at Veteran’s and Memorial Day events, let alone joining a family to greet the flag-draped coffin of their son or daughter.

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