Should We Allow Coffin Pics?

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2009 4:26 PM CST
Honor Guard members carry the casket bearing the remains of Maj. John Pryor MD of Moorestown, New Jersey at Colestown Cemetery January 5, 2009 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – President Obama is reviewing a media ban at Dover Air Force Base, where dead soldiers arrive in flag-draped coffins, but "in truth, it's not an easy issue," John Barry writes in Newsweek. There is widespread support for raising the ban "as a way of reminding the public of the cost of war." But with cameras present, families will be pressured to attend—on their own dime—when they could just invite media to hometown funerals.

Barry once witnessed the coffin delivery at Dover, an event "moving in its intimacy and restraint. I was glad there were no waiting cameras and flashbulbs." Maybe Canadians have it right, he says: They block off a major freeway to drive fallen soldiers into Toronto. The US could do the same, delivering coffins from Andrews Air Force Base to Dover. "The route could pass by the White House," writes Barry.