Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dover Ban Lifted

"...For the first time in nearly 20 years, members of the news media will be allowed starting Monday to cover the solemn arrivals of American flag-draped coffins holding the remains of U.S. troops at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

Gates and President Barack Obama had said for months that they wanted to lift the ban once an internal review could be completed.

The Dover ban was put into effect by President George H.W. Bush in 1991..." (source)

This ban on press filming the return of fallen heroes has stayed in place through three Presidents. I'm wondering what prompted the change. Did military personnel request the coverage?

The first coffin to be filmed arriving home was that of Phillip Myers. Myers was the recipient of a Bronze star he earned while in Iraq and was killed this past Saturday in Afghanistan. Myers' widow gave the press the okay.

"...Under the new policy, families of fallen servicemen will decide whether to allow media coverage of their return.

If several bodies arrive on the same flight, news coverage will be allowed only for those whose families have given permission..." (source)

The troops returning home after faithful service deserve to be acknowledged...but I wonder if this ban had been enacted to discourage the politicization of such a painful moment... The press were respectful and honored the family's wishes not to be photographed or interviewed, but what happens in a few months, a few years...when this becomes commonplace --will the media remain this respectful?

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