Tonight, as I watched President Obama's speech on his plan for the stimulus, I could not believe some of the lame (nice way of saying stupid) questions he was asked out of context for the message he was delivering.
What did he think about Alex Rodriguez admitting steroid use? I have to say President Obama showed great restraint in how he answered the question, but who could have blamed him if, given the seriousness of what we face economically, he had said "you got to be kidding, somebody show this idiot where the door is and take his press credentials when you throw him out on Pennsylvania Avenue...." Really, is it the most important thing most of us (much less the President) need to be concerned about given that Alex Rodriguez is at best an overpaid jock who got outed after he has continually lied that he used steroids?
But that was not such a bad question compared to Ed Henry with CNN, who asked the President whether he thought the arrival of American coffins at Dover should be accessible to the media to "show America the real cost of the war...." and would he reconsider the policy of not allowing the media in. Ed Henry and CNN seem to want to make it a spectacle to "behold" when our FALLEN Heroes arrive at Dover on their final trip home to an honorable rest. Absolutely not!!!! Why shouldn't we let the media have access to film and put it on the evening news? Well for the same reason the media should not be the first to know the identity of the fallen before the family is told.
It is a very personal moment when a fallen hero arrives home. And the first to see that should be the family, not America.
Our family made a decision which granted me a special privilege and honor for me to go alone and meet Mike's body as he arrived from Dover at Hartsfield Atlanta Airport on August 24, 2005. A quiet singular reception, so I could ride in the hearse to take him to the funeral home 25 miles away on a road he and I traveled many times as I carried him to and from for weekend, holidays, and other visitation as a divorced dad. It was a "LAST RIDE TO TAKE MY BOY HOME". I wore a favorite blue blazer and red and blue tie as my way of showing respect to my son. As they uncrated his casket and draped the American flag over him I saluted from nearby, tears streaming down my cheeks as a number of busy airline air cargo employees suddenly stopped in stunned silence, only then realizing what was taking place. I held my salute, poor as it was for an untrained civilian, until the flag was completely draped and the edges evenly corned out. Then, I stepped outside to call my wife Retta who loved him like one of her own and as she answered the phone, tears still streaming down my cheeks, with a quiver in my voice, I said "our boy is home."
Others families did it "their way" and that is how it should be.
Mike Stokely and many others like him died for America. I was once asked what I thought the cost of freedom was. Freedom has many costs, but for the fallen and their families the cost is a Lifetime of Love. Is it too much to ask, given what we have paid for America and the likes of Ed Henry and CNN to be free to have that first moment to be ours and not America's? Should we now be asked to give more so that something so private can be used, not for furthering the first amendment, but to sell advertising to ensure a media's profitable bottom line? While black corporate ink is in most cases a good thing, it can not be so when it comes at the cost of dishonoring the spilled Red American Blood of our FALLEN.
Mr. President, I hope your answer to ED Henry, CNN and the likes will be an unequivocal, unwavering and unapologetic NO WE WILL NOT TURN THE HONORABLE SANCTITY OF DOVER INTO A MEDIA SPECTACLE!!!! You Sir, must protect our fallen and their families and the privacy of Dover.
After all Mr. President, that is little enough to ask given that the fallen gave their lives to protect you and your's.
DUTY - HONOR - COUNTRY.
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq
USA E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG