This is a repost of a blog post from January 2008 as a part of a Best of series.
This Lousy Coffin? -
To the Editorial Board of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Today, as I read the Sunday (December 30, 2007) edition of the AJC, and as I tried to turn past the two page spread you gave Mike Luckovich, my eye caught his distasteful use (again) of a Flag Draped Casket (year end recap / replay of cartoon). Worse yet, Mike Luckovich used these descriptive words "..THIS LOUSY COFFIN..." as he refers to the most visible, respectable, and grief evoking symbol of a fallen soldier. You may think me overly sensitive, but then you wouldn't think I was if you had met your fallen son's body as I did at an air cargo hanger at Hartsfield Airport on August 24, 2005. Perhaps you might understand better if you could have been there when the news broke at my home, as I walked in circles in my driveway trying to figure out how to tell my family, including my son's 13 year old sister who adored him. Try figuring out how to cope as a family day to day with the most incredible loss imaginable - the loss of a son and brother, or as some have, a daughter and sister. Try being a 20 year old bride to your high school sweetheart ten days before he went to war, only to be handed the flag off his casket three months later. Sit down and review my son's autopsy report and see for yourself why he was "non-viewable body". Then, perhaps, you and Mike Luckovich might have a glimpse why it is so insensitive and in such poor taste to use a Flag Draped Casket in the manner that Mike Luckovich has now done on two occasions.
The Flag Draped Casket is the last visible and demonstrative image so many of us have of our fallen loved ones. God spare you the pain those of us who have welcomed home a Flag Draped Casket have endured, for it is a pain which radiates from a special privilege of sacrifice which costs a life time of love. May you never have to open a paper and see something so dear to your broken heart being trifled with as Mike Luckovich does with the Flag Draped Casket.
There are many who profit off war, and in war, one man's loss is another's black ink bottom line. But, would your bottom line run red if you just left the Flag Draped Casket alone?
proudly remembering my son, SGT Mike Stokely
KIA near Yusufiyah Iraq
USA E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG
DUTY HONOR COUNTRY
p.s. - Note to file - Mike Luckovich used the word coffin but there is a significant difference between a coffin, which is contoured, being wider at the upper body and narrower at the legs versus a casket which has a uniform dimension.
[Ed Note 2: You can find Mr. Luckovich's "art" here the image in question is the first one, and here. You can also view his "best of" here the image to which Robert refers is number 5 ]