Honorable Transfers

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Memorial service for a fallen soldier in Riverside, CA.

Memorial service for a fallen soldier in Riverside, CA. Source: David McNew/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: David McNew/Getty Images

American losses in Iraq now total more than 4,000, and the process of bringing them home so that their remains can be laid to rest involves a diverse cast of characters. There's the fellow soldier who carries the bodies off the battlefield on a stretcher; the pilots that transport the fallen to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware; the mortuary workers who embalm them; the chaplain who consoles surviving friends at base camp; and the officer who hands a triangular folded flag to the grieving soldier's family. All of this culminates in the "honorable transfer" — the moment the flag-draped casket is removed from the aircraft and placed into an awaiting hearse. Journalist Chris Jones accompanied one fallen soldier on his journey home from Iraq. He wrote about the experience in a piece entitled, "The Things that Carried Him" for the May issue of Esquire. If you are involved in the transfer of bodies and remains of military personnel, or if you are a family member who's been through this process, tell us your story.

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The link to the article isn't working. Thanks

Sent by Diane | 2:22 PM | 4-7-2008

It seems like the current ban on showing flag draped coffins is almost disrespectful to the sacrifice of the military personnel. The argument is that the families may not want to have their loved ones coffin shown, but when it comes down to it as long as there are no identifying marks on the coffin (which there are not) and they are simply draped by flags, there should be no problem showing the coffins. It shines light to the process and the work that goes into respecting the honored deceased, something that Chris Jones has started to do by shining light on all the people who care for the military person after death.

Sent by Laura | 2:25 PM | 4-7-2008

Esquire assured us the the article would be up in an hour or so. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Sent by Ashley | 2:39 PM | 4-7-2008