Flag Draped Coffins

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.

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12 thoughts on “Flag Draped Coffins

  1. Let’s hope the powerful visage of the cost of war strikes home, deep in the President’s heart and psyche.
    Let’s buy all their opium and get the hell out of there.

  2. Great post, BnF. In fairness, I think we should point out that President Clinton banned media coverage of the Fallen returning home, and President Bush simply continued that policy. It was wrong of President Clinton to do it, too.

    But at least President Obama knows what the right thing to do is. They died for us, and we should be allowed to pay our respects, too.

  3. Your President shows the appropriate respect to you the people and your military men and women. All amidst a disrespectful shitstorm directed towards him by the self-proclaimed patriotic America.

    Cheney never paid respect to the ones he sent to their deaths, but dares to criticized Obama for “dithering” on Afghanistan.Maybe Obama just wants to do the right thing and make a decision based on facts, the interest of your country and the welfare of your soldiers? Call that dithering?

  4. Wayne, according to the AP article, the ban began under George the First:

    “An 18-year ban on such coverage, dating to the 1991 Gulf War and strengthened by Bush, was relaxed this year under Obama’s watch, allowing families to decide whether cameras can document the return. Nearly two-thirds have said yes.”

    Although Clinton had our troops involved in the NATO action against the former republic of Yugoslavia, no ground troops were involved. We provided air strikes. (Republicans in Congress tied the Commander in Chief’s hands on that call. After all, we were helping to stop a genocide perpetrated by Christians against Muslims back then). Simply put, under Clinton, we weren’t at war. But under Bush I and Bush II, we were.

  5. Well, Zooey. Apparently I think that being “Christian” has something to do with religion. But I’ve been told (and by you know whom) that’s not always the case. I don’t see how, so I must not be too bright. 😉

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