We opppose the Fallen Hero Commemoration Act (HR 6662)


December, 2008

Who could oppose a bill called the Fallen Hero Commemoration Act?

We can.

Under the current laws and regulations, when an American serviceman is killed in action his or her next of kin have the final say over whether or not the press is allowed to be present at the military base when the casket arrives back home.

While some family members of our departed heroes are generously willing to share such private and tragic moments and allow members of the press to enter a military base or photograph the casket as it leaves the plane while the family is coming to terms with their loss, most do not.

Most families, as was the case with Sgt. Alex Jimenez, see this as an invasion of privacy and request (as is their right) private time with their deceased family member.

While they are fully prepared for the onslaught of photographers and reporters at the public processions that usually follow the arrival of a fallen serviceman, they prefer to have some private time on the military base when their loved one arrives before the pressure of such publicity begins.

Now, House Bill 6662 is making it’s way though congress and is laughingly called the Fallen Hero Commemoration Act. This piece of legislation, if passed, would strip away the families’ right to exclude members of the press from military bases when the bodies of servicemen arrive back home.

We are confused as to how a law can commemorate the honorable service and sacrifice of our fallen heroes by spitting in the face of their family members and forcing them to deal with the press and the public at the most tragic and emotionally vulnerable moments of their lives.

We believe that this decision should be left to those grieving families and not to the politicians in Washington with political motivation; or members of the press who have plenty of other opportunities to photograph and report on public funerals, parade processions, and other public services for our military heroes after their bodies are returned home.