Standing in the pre-dawn darkness, President Barack Obama saw the real cost of the war in Afghanistan: The Americans who return in flag-covered cases while much of the nation sleeps in peace.
With that small gesture, President Obama has honored our troops far more than former President Bush ever did. The Bush Administration did its best to keep this all-too-human cost of war out of the public eye. Photos of flag-draped coffins were banned under his watch. One of the first acts of President Obama was to lift that ban.
The president saluted as six soldiers in camouflage and black berets carried Griffin’s remains into a waiting white van. … He immediately spoke privately in a chapel with all the family members. The solemn process of transferring remains of 15 soldiers and three Drug Enforcement Agency agents unfolded in four separate movements. Obama took part in all of them. A chaplain offered prayers for the fallen, the crews that brought them home, the families who lost a loved one, and a nation embroiled in war. By 4:45 a.m., the president had touched back down on the South Lawn, where even an active White House was sleepy.
He walked inside, alone.
This author has been to a funeral of one of our fallen. He has seen the mother’s grief as she was handed the flag from her son’s coffin. It was, and remains, a powerful image.
And now, President Obama has been touched, first hand, by that same powerful emotion. And he, alone, must make the decision about how many more mother’s children will he send off to die for Bush’s mistakes.
In this author’s opinion, one is too many.