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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Wars are fought in our names, so we should know as much about them as possible, including being able to see one inevitable result of armed battle. So ending the ban on news coverage of the welcome home for fallen soldiers was a good idea, especially since the families are given the final say on allowing the media to attend or not. Most things the media show up at become circuses, which is the nature of the beast. That's why there's so much concern about coverage of trials. That's not likely to happen here, though, because there are strict rules and the will to enforce them:

Old Guard members also are assigned the funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. To make it into the Old Guard, they've already survived a sort of basic training in which, instead of climbing walls and crawling under barbed wire, they learn to stand as still as a marble column and as stolidly as a beefeater.

Their three-week orientation training ends with a particularly grueling task: They have to stand at attention a full 90 minutes. That's the length of a feature film without so much as a sigh or smirk.

It can be difficult, given that the instructors do everything they can to break the soldiers' concentration. They tell dirty jokes. They dance. They play peekaboo behind their berets and make funny faces. They sing ridiculous songs: Barry Manilow in falsetto, "A Whole New World" from Disney's "Aladdin."

Having survived the "Aladdin" test, Pvt. Kyle Brower, 18 years old and just a few months removed from civilian life, was able to stand still and stare into the middle distance during his first dignified transfer last week. He was able to carry the coffin while remaining, as the soldiers call it, "locked up" -- both physically and emotionally. If his thoughts wandered to the soldier inside, how he or she died, he was able to snap back.

Another story notes that  "no live filming was allowed, nor were 'stand-ups,' in which a commentator speaks into a camera as the action unfolds in the backdrop. Photographing family members is banned." If the press were that well-bhaved all the time, we could let them out in public more often.