The world did not fall off it's axis; neither the sun nor the moon exploded as the 747 touched down at Dover AFB Sunday night.
30-year-old Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers of Hopewell, Va. came home on Sunday night. His body was returned to Dover AFB from Afghanistan in a flag covered casket. His honor ceremony was a repeat of the same ceremony that has welcomed home nearly 5000 members of the US military, who were casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nothing was different about this ceremony, except SSgt Philips ceremony was photographed and the images of his casket being removed from the plane were shared with our country.
Since the early 90's the media has been banned from taking photographs of this solemn and honorable ceremony. SSgt Myer's family gave permission for the ceremony to be photographed and so it was. We have now seen the dignity and respect which are afforded to our casualties of war, our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and the world has not changed, if only to become a little more sad at this profound loss. By all accounts the media was professional, as I expected they would be.
Air Force SSgt Myers was killed April 4 after being hit with an improvised explosive device(IED. He was 30 years old and leaves behind a widow.
For those of us who fought for the media ban to be lifted, it was a long fought battle, but it is no victory; we never got the photograph of our loved one's ceremony.
We send our troops off to war with fanfare and much pride; it is time the return home in the same fashion, regardless if they are alive or dead. We have now seen the dignity and high respect which are afforded our casualties of war, our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters as their bodies return to the US. As a country, tonight we are allowed to share in the grief of SSgtMyers family and friends and we are allowed to mourn his death. My thoughts are with his family and friends during this very difficult time.
Welcome Home SSgt Myers, welcome home.
CNN did a followup story to the interview I did in February when the lifting of the media ban was announced.