I love Kathy’s posts over at What Do I Know — as a former New Mexican living in England, she can offer a different perspective, thanks to the media she has access to and the distance from events here. Yesterday, she blogged about a solemn ceremony marking the return to England of 14 troops killed in an airplane crash in Afghanistan:
How sad. I just watched the repatriation ceremony at RAF Kinross for the 14 British service members killed in Afghanistan when their plane went down. It was moving, dignified, and once again I wondered why the same respect isn’t shown to our men and women who die abroad fighting our wars.
Of course I know the answer. It’s for crass political reasons. Since Ronald Reagan was president, the flag-draped coffins of U.S. service members who are killed abroad are not shown to the American public, in order that the public not be reminded of the painful cost of war. It’s thought that the sight of so many bodies returning to Dover AFB was the reason the public lost support for the Vietnam War.
But our brave men and women who give their lives for their country deserve better. They deserve, for a few minutes, the respect of their country, the dignified silence that surrounds their repatriation to their homeland.
I wiped my tears as they described the men who died in Afghanistan—one wanted to be a pilot, another loved fast cars—and I thought about the young Americans who’ve died without such an honor bestowed on them. Without the country they died for even knowing what their hopes and dreams were.
She is absolutely right: we do our military personnel a disservice by not readily and openly recognizing the sacrifices they make on our behalf.