Yesterday evening I was told about L/Cpl Joshua Bernad. I had read his name in the DoD releases and knew he had been killed fighting in Afghanistan. I did not know that the AP wire service had made a decision to release pictures of this young man after he had been injured. The family begged them not to release the pictures. Sec. of Defense Gates sternly advised them not to release the photos... but they did it anyway. No concern or care about the emotional impact this would have on the family who is already grieving and in so much pain. My heart broke for this family. Then I became furious. I refuse to link to the pictures. I will respect the family's wishes on that matter.
Joshua is my son's brother... they served the same Nation. They wore different uniforms but they shared a like minded pride and need to protect the innocent and free the oppressed. Joshua's family is now on the same painful path of grief I am and share with many others... they too are now my family. My heart goes out the Bernard family.. for the loss of their son and for the abuse they are now suffering at the hands of the AP wire service. I stand beside them in there grief and this fight.
I am truly tired of the abuse put upon our military members and their families. I am all about the Constitution and the 1st Amendment. It is what my son stood for and fought for. I have been known to state often that we don't have the right to not be offended but this is not about offending someone.. this about inflicting intentional pain on them. It's about emotionally torturing the families and this man's fellow soldiers. it's about taking L/cpl Joshua Bernard's dignity from him. And it was most assuredly intentional. No argument is sufficient for this behavior. This is not about the "public needs to know". This is about tearing down the morale of our troops and their families.
It is time for the military to pull out embedded reporters. I hate to say that because there are some who are very good and respect the troops a great deal, like Michael Yon. But when this type of thing happens repeatedly it's time to go back to morning briefings on the events of this war and controlling what is shared. To protect our troops and their families.
As a military family, as a nation, we must stand together and share our strength. We have to become more vocal in how our Fallen are exploited and find a way to stop it! Their loss of life in combat does not make them open to the public to be used and abused in death for others personal agendas. As it stands right now the families of the Fallen have very limited say in how their soldier's name and images are used. A few states have passed laws to stop them from being used for financial gain. But anyone can use the names of these men and women for their political agenda. even when the person who's name being used was against the agenda. Even when the family says NO... and we can't do a damned thing.
My son died for this country... that does not make him the property of anyone else. It makes him an American who deserves respect, honor and his dignity. And the same goes for every single man and woman who has ever served.