Many points of "A tough but correct call on photo of dying Marine" (Ombudsman, Mark Prendergast, Sept. 8), on the photo of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard, stand out; however, one statement tore a hole in my heart where the understanding that all human beings are compassionate used to be found.
Prendergast stated: "Families have — and should have — the power to forbid coverage of the return of their fallen loved ones to Dover Air Force Base."
Prendergast, a veteran, compared this to running a photo against the wishes of our secretary of defense and the Bernard family. He even used history to promote the reasons the photo was released.
Photos of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks thrust Americans into unification and patriotism in 2001 and early 2002. Now, war criticism has increased.
These protests are further spiked by stories and photographs depicting battle. To President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s delight, military servicemembers may find patriotism and the call to arms by the photos. John Q. Public, however, may find these stories fuel for an anti-war and an anti-U.S. government demonstration.
While deployed alongside a U.S. Army civil affairs team, we did not have any of our submitted pictures of smiling Afghan children picked up by a "global news station." Our pictures can be found primarily on the Air Force and Army.mil Web sites or a base or garrison newspaper. American Forces Network regularly features these positive news stories in between MSNBC, Fox News and CNN broadcasts. Unfortunately, these stories rarely incite patriotism. Publishing a photo of a fallen comrade does little, as well.
I salute Bernard for his sacrifice and his family is in my prayers. I also hope that the Bernard family does not feel any more burden than necessary due to a fellow American’s decisions to ignore decency for the greater good of greed.
Staff Sgt. Andre I. Sanchez-RomeroAviano Air Base, Italy