Monday, April 06, 2009

Flag-Draped Coffins


The Obama administration has lifted an 18 year old ban on photographs of the flag-draped coffins of returning servicemen. The issue has been fought on personal and political grounds. Supporters of the ban say the pictures can weaken morale and are an intrusion on family privacy. Critics of the ban say the photographs are covered by first Amendment rights, and that they offer a glimpse of the human toll war exacts. Furthermore, they note, family members of the deceased must agree to the photos before they can be taken. (For a closer look at the issue, click on the title of this post and check out the attached article in the New York Times).

Where do you stand on this issue?

21 comments:

Gordie C said...

This is an interesting question because it deals with death personally, which is a very sticky situation. I agree and disagree with Obama's choice to life the ban because it all depends on who's point of view you look from. If I was a family member of the man or woman who had been killed then I don't think I would agree wiht Obama's choice, because I would be so effected by the situation. I do think the family has the right to give permission to the photographer. I also think these pictures show a sign of equality and patriotism. These ceremonies show equality because every person lost in the war gets a flag-drapped coffin and the American flag represents the effort and the importance of their duties. This situation will be controversial and many people will be hurt by these pictures but it is a true demonstration of America.

Adam said...

It is a pretty emotional picture. I agree that families should have the right to choose whether or not the picture is taken. At the same time I don't think this picture really weakens morale. Dying dor the sake of your country will always be considered noble and patriotic. In the end, the family should be able to make the decision.

Victoria E. said...

I agree that this is a very interesting and hard question to deal with/answer. I think that it was good that President Obama has lifted the ban. I do not think it is bad to show everyone all the caskets coming back but I also do not believe that it is a good thing to show all the caskets. It could weaken the morale of the country by not showing them but it could also break some people down by showing them. It is a very hard balance. I think it is something that may change over time and we need to just accept that. What is the Politically correct thing to do with the caskets coming with soldiers who've been killed inside?

Kate H said...

for me this issue has always hit a nerve. I think that the families of the deceased have the full right not to have their sons or daughters coffins photographed. It is hard to imagine a body in the coffins but each and every body has once been inhabited by a life that has touched so many and I don't think that a person should have to go through the pain of losing a loved one every time they even look at an american flag.

Max Rice said...

I agree with Obama

Matt H said...

I think that the flag-draped coffin should be reserved for only the most prestigious of deaths. I'll explain that, I mean that only Presidents, Medal of Honor winners, and all others who will be buried in the National Cemetery. I agree with Obama and the ban for the most part.

maddie hilbrant said...

I think that the families of the ones who have been killed HAVE to give permission for the photos to be shown. The stress and the loss put on these families is unbearable and its something that i'm sure we cannot even come close to understanding. I also think that the flag-draped coffin should be for ANYBODY who has their life taken for doing a good deed.

Jillian F said...

I did not know that there was a ban on the pictures before this. I think that this is a very interesting topic. I think that they should not be banned, bu that the family has to want the picture. So I think that it is pretty much up to the family if they want the picture or not.

Miles said...

I completely agree with Obama's lifting of the ban. "We" cant live in a Plato's cave that promotes the blissful ignorance that is represented by the banning of war casualty photos. It's smart of a war mongering president though to not show his country what exactly he got us into. Obama wants us out of Iraq, so naturally he's going to show these photos as means of media backup to ease the people into agreeing that we do need to get out. Photos like this one help the citizens of America understand the cost of war and it brings a heavy message home.

LukeHG said...

I think the key thing to look at is that the family gave consent to use these photos. It would be another thing if there was no consent and the family was upset because of it. I also think that this ban as an infringement on the people wishing to publish or take the photos Civil rights. I think its wrong to tell someone not to use an image because its bad for morale.

Kimber said...

I believe that the 18 year old ban should be lifted. I do not believe that photographs of the flag-draped coffins weaken morale. As Adam stated, “Dying dor the sake of your country will always be considered noble and patriotic.” Furthurmore, it was mentioned that some believe that pictures like this are “an intrusion on family privacy,” but this issue could be easily avoided if the potion of the ban is kept stating that family members of the deceased need to agree to the photo before it can be taken.

andrea said...

I agree with Obama.... it was right to lift the ban on photographs of the flag-draped coffins of returning servicemen. I think it is important to see appreciate and pay respect to people who have died for our country. I do not think it weakens morale. Instead, I think for some people it may suggest that people are willing to fight for our country which shows unity, dedication, and patriotism as they died honorably. Before these pictures are taken, I think that the family members must agree to it because it is most important for the family members and mourners to be respected.

Julia said...

I also agree with Obama as many other people do above. I think that it is ok to see the pictures of the flag draped over the coffin as long as the family of the person who died said that it was ok. It is a private thing for the family, but if they say that it is ok to take the picture of someone who died for our country, then i believe that it is ok. I have had two experiences with the flag over the coffin for my cousin who passes away as well as my grandpa and i know that it was very emotional for all of us to see, and some families may not want to share their picture of the flag over the coffin.

Jackie said...

If the family agrees to release the photograph, then I don't see why there's a problem. It would be a different story if the family didn't want it showed, but it had to be. If the family wants to show the world their picture they have every right to. And in reality, is there really much you can do to stop them?

And besides, isn't there some old important document that deals with issues like this? I feel like there is.

sheffieldD said...

To emphasize on the words of wisdom from max, i also agree with the Obama administration. people should be able to photograph what they like. I mean i understand why people wouldn't want pictures being taken of dead family members because people don't want to think about the death of their family member they want to embrace the moments they had with them while they were alive, but i still think that the mere image of a flag draped over a coffin is so symbolic and American that we cannot pass up capturing the moment. Also i think that the lifting of the ban is good because it shows respect and really honors the men/ women for what they have done for this country.

Zack said...

I am shocked that a ban of these types of photos lasted as long as it did. It's anti American to ban any sort of photograph because it does so clearly violate the first amendment. There is some merit in that the government doesn't want to invade the privacy of the families, but I'm sure that the main reason those photos were banned were due to the fact that it shines a negative light on the war. The whole reason of the first amendment is that we are allowed to see things that might weaken morale, because we do live in a free country.

Boris P said...

Banning pictures of coffins is a violation of the freedom of speech. If somebody wants to show a picture of a coffin to represent the human cost of war , that should be totally acceptable.

Matt B said...

I am surprised that there was even a ban in the first place because it is a clear violation of first admendment rights. However, I do agree that family members of the fallen soldier should be able to limit the right by not allowing people to take a picture of their fallen loved one.

Madeline said...

I, along with Jillian, also had no idea that there was a ban on these pictures. I could be wrong, but I feel like I've seen pictures like these before. Though I don't agree with the banning of these photographs, I think that each family should have the decision whether or not these pictures can be taken. Some families may want the picture taken to show the patriotism of their fallen soldiers/family members.

Frettzilla said...

i believe that a family should give permission to have a flag draped coffin and i believe that the pictures should be allowed to be taken with the consent of family. if i was a person in a family that had to look at this photo i would have a sense of pride to know that my child or brother/sister died protecting and fighting for thi country.

Jerbear said...

I must say that if the family agrees, then there is no way that the photo should be banned. The family might think that they are keeping their sons legacy alive by allowing the photo, and that should be completely their choice.