Below is a photograph, of the first of its kind since 1991, of the body of a U.S. serviceman returning home Sunday night after being killed in action.
The man in the casket was USAF Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers, 30, of Hopewell, VA, killed two days ago by an IED.
Even though this cannot capture the tragedy and grief of his friends and family, I believe that this is an important reminder of what our men and women of our military face every time our politicians send them into harm's way. Whether you believe the action is justified or wrong-headed, America's short attention span should be jolted by images like these to remind it of the real cost of war--beyond and before the money is counted.
I have several friends who have come home from the battlefields--all safely, thankfully--and I know of a couple others from years back still serving there. I want them to come back home safely to their happy families at the airport and not like this.
But the return of those who gave their very lives in service to their country should not be done under the cloak of government secrecy. I can't speak for my friends, past and present, in the service, but I personally view it as dishonorable that the government would hide them, as if we were ashamed of them. These men and women sacrificed themselves: the least we could do is acknowledge them as they return home.
UPDATE: Better write-up of Sgt. Myers' return at WaPo.