For 18 years, photographers have been prohibited from documenting the return from war of flag-draped coffins containing dead American servicemen and women. The Obama administration lifted the ban yesterday. The military and families of the deceased have been divided about the ban. Some said that by disallowing photographs, the government was preserving the dignity of the dead soldiers. Others, however, felt the blackout of media images of the returning coffins sanitized the war. Obama’s lifting of the ban is certainly a victory for the media, whose job it is to document all aspects of war. Here’s the New York Times’ story today LINK.
Ban on Coffin Photos is Lifted
Filed under In the News
One response to “Ban on Coffin Photos is Lifted”
I can see why the families are divided on this issue, and my heart goes out to them. I firmly believe their wishes in the matter should be taken into consideration. During the period 1947-1949, my father (then an army brigadier general) was in charge of the disposition of more than 145,000 war dead of the European Theater. At that time, the next of kin were given the option of having their deceased loved one returned home or reinterred in one of the ten permanent American cemeteries in Europe. To avoid family conflict, the Quartermaster Corps created a strict ranking system to determine whose wishes would have priority (if the deceased was married, the spouse had first priority). Next of kin today should be given a choice between media attention (which many would welcome) or privacy when their loved one is returned home. Some sort of ranking system could be worked out, as was the case after World War II. Thanks for your post on this matter.
Jean Peckham Kavale. (My website has more information about this subject, as does my blog.)