As I have wandered the internet the last few days, I have seen a lot of different opinions; the military families of deployed troops; Gold Star families.
Today, I find a piece by an American Soldier. As you all know, I always listen to the opinions of our troops. Usually their opinions have been shaped by their own personal experiences, their life lessons. Read on:
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I'm writing you today as a Soldier in the Army over which you preside as Commander in Chief. I'm writing because should the time ever come that my wishes need to be heard, I shall not be able to utter them. Please allow me to speak them to you now, and please hear me. Please remember these words should I not be able to speak them.
It is not my wish to be overly dramatic. I have seen others who have failed to ask for such favors before, who have waited until too late to make their wishes known, who have been made a mockery to their own values. I do not wish to be one of those, and so I speak while I still carry breath. I speak it now because I fear that I have reason to be concerned that such things would happen if I were to return home without my life from my next deployment.
Each of us who has gone into harm's way has had an opportunity to reflect in our own way on our mortality and what the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice means to us. I have had this moment, and before I left for my tour, I considered very carefully what I would like for those who know and care for me to know should I not return home with my life intact. Among other things, I wrote them a letter, to this point unopened, detailing my wishes for their conduct surrounding my death. I made it clear that should the ultimate sacrifice be taken from me, and rest assured that I risk this willingly but do not suffer it willingly, I do not wish to be made use of for anyone's purposes or for the influence of my fellow citizens.
When I went into harm's way before, I had no fear that my return to the United States would be made with less than perfect dignity. The recent consideration of revising the policy concerning the return of our fallen to Dover has caused me to feel that I need to express my wishes now. Consider this, if you will, an addendum to my Last Will and Testament.
I do not wish for the press to have access to the repatriation of my remains, Sir. I do not wish for the image of my returning casket to made available to anyone. I wish to maintain the privacy and dignity that my return to my native soil has been promised to this point in my service. ...
That's from Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure. And there is more. Be sure to go read the rest here, and maybe weigh in with your views. I would like to believe that the President of the US will take notice - and respect - how our troops themselves feel about this. I would like to believe.