In short, though, my opinion shouldn't matter and it ultimately shouldn't be up to me. It shouldn't be up to the media, and it shouldn't be up to a politician, either.
It seems to me that there is a quick and relatively easy way to handle this.
Put the question directly to the soldiers or their next of kin directly on how they would like to be remembered. There seems to be some question of what general protocol should be, when there shouldn't truly be any question and having one overriding general protocol doesn't seem to fit the diverse opinion within the military.
"When troops come home, I believe that's a family matter. I mean, it's a pretty sad time for all family, and I think it should be kept private," Cpl. Darrin Fudge said in an interview with CBC News in Kandahar.
"I don't think everyone else in the world should know what that family is going through."
[CBC, Serving soldiers say arrival of bodies should be private]
"In some ways, it would be good for the general public to see. It would give them an idea of what's going on over here," said Master Cpl. Chris Schmidt.
"However, I don't know if I'd necessarily want everyone to see what my family is going through if it was me coming back in that type of plane."
"There's guys back home that knew these guys," Schmidt said. "Maybe that's the only way they'll be able to actually get any type of closure too."
Dr. Douglas Bland
Christine Wood's son, Adam Seegmiller, was a member of the honour guard that helped load the caskets of the four men killed last weekend into the plane in Afghanistan.
"I can only say if it was my son in that box . . . I would want the country to see me, and to understand the level of my grief, and to show the honour of those boys taken off the plane and the ceremony," Ms. Wood said yesterday. "I would want the Canadian people to understand what we've given -- what I've given -- with my eldest son."
"It's none of Canadians' business, and especially not the media's business, how we celebrate soldiers," said Douglas Bland who served in the military for three decades and now teaches military strategy at Queen's University in Kingston.[Globe & Mail, Ban stirs conflicting emotions]
"It is the professional responsibility of members of the armed forces -- always has been, always ought to be," he said. "We, the soldiers, take care of our dead and we bury them according to our traditions, our customs."
That is the way it has been for centuries and there is no reason for a media spectacle, he added. "It has nothing to do with freedom of information. What Canadian who is interested doesn't know these people are dead?"
It should be up to the families to decide whether they want reporters present at such ceremonies, said Richard Leger, whose son Marc was killed in Afghanistan four years ago.[CBC, Harper on defensive over media ban on return of dead soldiers]
"I know, in 2002, it was a great thing for us to have the media there... We wanted to show all Canadians what the cost of their liberty is," he told CBC Newsworld.
Updated: Graphic snagged from The Galloping Beaver.
Tags: afghanistan, canada, canadian forces, politics