posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 04:36 PM
My son, Sergeant Armand Luke Frickey, Louisiana Army National Guard, was one of the six men buried in the televised funeral. The news crew set up
their camera across a bayou (a waterway large enough to be a "creek" or small river in other places) and two small highways from the funeral home.
So the CBS camera crew and all the other newsies with cameras had to use lenses large enough for amateur astronomy.
Viewing the footage later, I felt degraded and my privacy affronted. But it wasn't my decision as to whether to permit cameras, it was the dead's
next of kin, the wives of the married troops (including our daughter-in-law, who is a terrific person), and they were unanimous in wishing to allow
the newsies in. I respected that opinion, and so did the Army National Guard.
I totally support freedom of the press, but not when it involves catching people in the throes of grief and using it in a way that foreseeably works
against what the men who died believed in. All of those men were there because they believed in what our country was doing in Iraq.
Not two weeks before he died, my son voiced his frustration at the press' decision to completely ignore the good the Coalition (including our Army)
is doing in Iraq and the almost complete support our troops have among local villagers. They were free to speak about this good news but until the
elections a few months after my son's death, they did not. I have difficulty respecting people who tell the news selectively, not reporting stories
which don't confirm their ideological biases.
Making it difficult for the for-profit, leftist partisan news industry to invade the lives and privacy of bereaved family members when they're
already in the special hell known only to those who have lost sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives is not in any way against
the Constitution. Our suffering is, or ought to be, none of their business. I envy the people who were able to say goodbye to their lost loved ones
without the press standing by.
Besides, other family members made themselves available for the press - people who lived in the area and had almost no social contact with my son
because of needless conflicts fomented by Luke's maternal grandmother. Said grandmother whined and sniffled throughout an entire local television
interview in which she gave no indication that her last correspondence with my son was a vindictive screed to him about his failure to stay long
enough at a "farewell party" she hosted right before Luke left for Iraq. She and my son were by no means close.
The longest and one of the most horrible days of MY life - when I learned one of my sons had died - was made unnecessarily worse when said maternal
grandmother of my son called, and called, and called, and called our home demanding we put "her" memorial service (one conducted by clergy and
members of a church to which my son did not subscribe and had made a point of not attending while he was alive) in my son's obituary.
I had no influence over that decision, but even if I had, nothing would have set my face against it harder than Luke's maternal grandmother's
behavior on that day, when civilized people were offering their condolences, not shouting demands over the telephone to me. I attended only the
memorial service my son would have wished, the one provided by the National Guard at the funeral home because my son would have expressed nothing but
contempt for the "other" memorial service.
The press' decision to make an "event" of the funerals of my son and his squad may have precipitated this behavior, or it may simply have been one
of countless cases in which my mother-in-law exhibited controlling behavior (which later included lies told to members of my family and others) to get
Regardless, it would have been much better if we had been left to grieve in privacy - it might have removed the temptation to self-aggrandize for the
benefit of the press from certain people.