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The right photos?

Post by Scott Fontaine on Sep. 1, 2009 at 11:08 am with 4 Comments »
September 1, 2009 7:59 am
1st Sgt. Jose Crisostomo is laid to rest.
1st Sgt. Jose Crisostomo is laid to rest.

There’s an interesting debate going on in the comments section of our story on the funeral of 1st Sgt. Jose Crisostomo of Spanaway. More specifically, the discussion centers around our decision to run a photo showing the coffin lowered in the grave.

Some readers chimed in: “EVEN if you had their permission – a photo right down into the grave? Cbeese-and-rice TNT have some respect. A flag draped casket, fine. But this is beyond the pale of taste and decorum,” said user frankiethomas.

cking9900 agreed: “This is a tasteless photo to publish! There had to have been other pics to choose from that would illustrate the sadness while being more respectful? Shame on you!”

bobbysangelwife, one of this blog’s most frequent commenters, disagreed: “What’s wrong…..death and tragedy a little too real for you? This is what we deal with in the military sometimes…I think it’s a powerful photo that says so much about how loved, respected, and missed this man will be. It’s not pretty, but it’s reality. It’s what our families go through sometimes”

Pserious apparently liked the photo selection: “I think the photo shows the true emotions of a family who has to say goodbye to a loved one. There is no shame in that.”

So what do you think? For what it’s worth, we were invited to the funeral. Several family members thanked us for being there; during one of the eulogies, it was mentioned that Crisostomo would’ve bragged about being all over the news.

But the way the media handles military deaths are always a touchy subject, and I’d be interested in getting y’all’s take — either here, or on the story comments.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. I often get frustrated with all of this talk of the war and how we need to fight for as long as it takes in Afghanistan and with as many troops as is needed. Everytime we send more troops over to Afghanistan, they are people with mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, and children. And a lot of those men and women will not come home. This is my reality every single day and I think many Americans forget what military families deal with. This picture represents what happens weekly and it’s a good reminder to the American people what this war actually means. It’s easy to support this war when you have no personal stake in it. Keep publishing the realities of war.

  2. ashleyrose says:

    I totally agree with you. I feel like it’s selfish for others to talk about the war, when it doesn’t really effect them personally like it does with military families. No one knows how scary it is so have an unknown number on the caller ID, and praying to God it isn’t bad news. This picture may not be the happiest one to show of a funeral, but really how happy is a funeral? Americans need to be reminded of the soldiers who are fighting for OUR freedom. This picture may cut to the core, but it is a reminder of what families of soldiers are going through everyday. And how these men and women serving our country are willing to die for our freedom. That is something that should never be edited.

  3. bobbysangelwife says:

    To comment on the 2 above posters: I think this is what the main issue is here. As long as we’re flag-waving, wearing the red shirts on Friday, and displaying bumper stickers, and yelling SUPPORT THE TROOPS!…..everything’s okay, everyone supports this until it affects them directly in some way.
    Once it becomes a cousin, a sister, an uncle, a beloved community member…..then it’s personal.
    Showing the emotion, the casket being lowered, the tears, the hurt and pain…..for some reason this disturbs people. This is how it goes for us! This is part of our lives.
    I’ve attended the funerals of 3 soldiers that I don’t even know in the last 5 years. I didn’t know them at all, I just knew that the were Nebraska National Guard soldiers. I found out all about them though. I got dressed, went to the funeral, attended the burial.
    Why? Why would I attend a person’s funeral that I didn’t even know?? Because they were part of our family and they deserved every single person’s respect and attention. Because their wives and children were going to need help and support during the transition and afterwards.
    Civilians will never understand all of this. Unless they’re closely involved in the military, they’ll never be able to wrap their heads around this.

  4. cewens000 says:

    Hi Scott, thought I would put my two cents in. As the mother of a fallen soldier, my opinion is that if the family had a say on which photos to publish then who is anyone to question or ridicule their decision. As Bobbysangelwife above said, until you are directly affected you have no idea how this kind of loss feels. If I had the choice, I would have allowed my son’s casket to be photographed. It would have been my way of making sure the public sees that this war is not just something happening thousands of miles away, but it is happening to your neighbors and their children.
    Another point…I think it is amazing that so many folks want to use the solemn subject of more casualties, our beloved children, to gripe about politics, the president etc….instead of quietly honoring our dead and providing comfort to their families. I know from experience how hurtful these insensitive comments are. These mourning families do not want to hear about how folks believe this war is wrong, or that their child’s death is a waste. I hope your readers can try to be more sensitive and choose a different platform to vent their opinions.
    My heart, thoughts, prayers go out to these families…it is hard to recover from such a painful and deep loss…they will need their communities support.

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