Monday, April 06, 2009

Welcome Home SSgt Phillip Myers

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.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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.

15 comments:

Anchored Away said...

Hear, hear.

sturange said...

Thanks from a Blue Star Mother's heart.

Anonymous said...

I cried when I saw Staff Seargent Meyers returned home. It was a very sad and touching moment. His death affects all of us as a country as does every casualty of this war.
Being able to see our dead soldiers returned to us brings the reality of the high cost of this war to every viewer.
I can't even imagine the pain of the personal loss for his family. I am honored to have offerred a few fairwell tears to this fallen hero.

liberal army wife said...

And the calmness out here in the blogosphere is a welcome change from the vitriol that was spewed forth when the change was announce. The dignity with which SSG Meyers was accompanied home, the caring and the deeply heartfelt gratitude of those there, was what I expected from my military family.

LAW

TJ said...

I am proud that this family allowed us all to share in their grief. The public needs to see that our sons and daughters are still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. If not for this, the only ones who are aware are those of us military families. I stop and say a quick prayer every time I read a DoD notice, which is daily, of yet another casualty.

libhom said...

I'm so glad that we don't treat our fallen as dirty secrets to be hidden anymore.

Treasa said...

Thank you for posting about this.I am Phillip's mom. We as a family are very glad we allowed the media to attend. Our service men and women need to be recognized. Not only in death but also while they are alive.Phillip loved his job. He always spoke of it when he called.

Thank You.

GSMSO- Gold Star Mom Speaks Out said...

Treasa-

Thanks for stopping by and especially thank you for allowing the media to record Phillip's sad homecoming. I am sending hugs from California.

My thoughts are with you during this difficult time, but especially on the day he is buried at Arlington on the 27th. I'll stop by and leave flowers when I am there on Memorial Day to mark the 5th anniversary of my son's death.

I know it's still very early for you, but you should know about the network of Section 60 families.

Please keep in touch kensmomkm@gmail.com

Karen

Nick said...

I was very fortunate to serve with Phil at RAF Lakenheath. He was a stellar NCO! It was a sad day hearing about our friends passing. Phil passed doing what he loved and trying to make a difference for others. He is a true hero to me and others! I thank Phil and his family for their ultimate sacrafice! God Bless each of you and you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. TSgt NICK

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the grief and pain that has not yet touched my life.
I can only respect the strength and courage of those left behind.
I can only pray for safe return of others,
and remember the ones who can't.
I can only trust they'll find peace and happiness on the other side.
I can only be humbled by the sacrifice they made for us.
I can only respect our freedom that the've fought for,
and live each day knowing the price.
I can only admire one dressed in fatigues,
and be in awe of their presence.
I can only stand at attention when our flag passes by.
And I can only let silent tears escape my eyes when all of this sinks in.
For I've never been a soldier. I've never confronted the face of my enemy.
I've never had to lay my life on the line.
I've never had to live in fear of anything.
And now I can't find the words to describe this feeling.
Is it grief?
Is it sorrow?
Is it shame, knowing I've never had to fight, while others are out there fighting?
Is it anger that they won't be able to hold their loved ones again?
Is it confusion, not wanting more casualties, yet honoring and respecting their choice?
Is it love for every single one of them even though I've never met them?
Is it pride that they stand so strong?
Is it pain, deep pain to know that I've taken all of this for granted?

Gerald said...

Would love to hear from Gold Star Mom! Enjoyed reading your post and very happy to see you are carrying on with life. We have something HUGE in common as I lost my father on 30 May 2004. Please contact me when you can.

volmedics@aol.com

Gerald said...

I very proud of Tsgt Phillip Myers and his service history to our nation. I was in Afghanistan in April 2009. We were doing one of our many humanitarian medical missions and doing our best to keep young children from the claws of the Taliban recruiters there.

I wrote ,sang and recorded a song in honor of Phil called, "Hero before he died". Anyone can see the full story , hear the song and see the video by going to www.cnn.com and simply searching HERO BEFORE HE DIED. The video is also posted on www.youtube.com In May we conducted a 15 day memorial humanitarian mission in honor of Tsgt Phillip A. Myers. Let nobody ever try to tell us that he was not a HERO!

God bless the Myer's family,
Gerald Scott Flint , OIF/OEF VET volmedics@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I was there when Sgt Myers died. It haunts me now, but I hope his family can take comfort in the fact that he saved lives doing what he did.

Anonymous said...

I was there when Sgt Myers died. It haunts me now, but I hope his family can take comfort in the fact that he saved lives doing what he did.

volmedics said...

Anonymous,
Please email when you can and know you have someone on the other end who is working on many of the same issues. You write well, we could use your help to help others in need!
G volmedics@aol.com