Every once in awhile someone will mention something in passing and it will set me off on one of my “missions”.
Recently while talking to one of the most amazing Marine wives I know she mentioned that a recently widowed lady asked that only an “Official DoD photograph” be taken of her husband’s return to Dover. Well this got me thinking.. Is there an “Official DoD Photograph” of my son’s return? And if so how do I get a copy? Not sure why this became a mission but it did… So I emailed Dover… within hours I received a response.
I regret to inform you that no images of your son’s return exists.
Department of Defense policy forbade official photography of the Fallen from late 2003 to April 2009.
I’m disappointed. I knew about media being barred from Dover but I didn’t realize there was no documentation at all of the return of some of our Fallen. I’m disappointed that there is no photo but at the same time a part of me knows that Dover was not for the family.
To me Dover is about our Fallen coming home to their military family. It is the place the military basically says goodbye to them. They care for them one last time before they taken them home to their families.
I found out shortly after Micheal was killed that everyone who works are Dover AFB mortuary service are volunteers. They ASK for the honor of taking care of these men.. of cleaning them and tailor making their uniforms.. of making sure every ribbon is perfect. The comb their hair.. manicure their nails.. cleaning their personal affects and make sure they are honored to the fullest extent of the military. And they ask for this job.
I wish I could personally thank every man and woman who works with Dover AFB Mortuary Team. They are amazing people who do duty that is more important than words can express. They bring a comfort to the families that sometimes even the families do not understand.
I think this mission of mine has served as a reminder that sometimes we should be grateful for people and the job they do.