Arlington National Cemetery media policy to be reviewed
July 13, 2008
The secretary of the Army has ordered an internal review of the way Arlington National Cemetery handles media coverage of fallen servicemembers’ funerals, said Army spokesman Paul Boyce.
"The Army continues to work with families and the media to ensure a respectful experience that honors the memories of our fallen soldiers and veterans," Boyce said in one of a series of e-mailed responses to questions on Friday night.
The move comes after a stinging column in The Washington Post on Thursday about Gina Gray, a spokeswoman at Arlington who claims she was fired after urging more media access to funerals where the families of fallen servicemembers had agreed to let media attend.
Asked what prompted the review, Boyce said, "I think you’re aware that we had looked at the matter several weeks back and we continue to work with the news media."
When asked whether the review would look into Gray’s firing, Boyce said it would focus on "media-assistance policies" at Arlington National Cemetery.
"I am not aware of anything like that specifically involves Ms. Gray at the Army Headquarters level," he said. "Matters involving civilian personnel matters are covered by the Privacy Act, and there are long-established personnel policies for reviews and appeals."
Reached by phone Friday, Gray said neither she nor her attorney had been told by the Army that a review would look into her termination.
"I certainly welcome any high level review of my situation and more importantly the mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery," Gray said.
She said the families of fallen servicemembers should determine what access the media should have to their loved-ones funerals.
"If a family says they want media coverage, then they should be the ones to determine how close or how far the media can be," Gray said.
But Gray also said there need to be well-established rules on such media coverage.
"I’m not asking that they throw open the gates and let the media crawl over the place; I’m asking for clear and concise guidance," she said.