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Access Denied: Arlington War Dead Funerals

Access Denied: Arlington War Dead Funerals

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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I only visited our great nation's capital once before I moved here to become a serious and important journalist. (ha) It was for a family vacation in the dead of August. My mom, an AP history teacher, wanted to see the places she taught about firsthand. I can remember our visit to Arlington National Cemetery. The air was thick and dripping with humidity. I was cranky, to see the least. As fortune would have it, we arrived right as the Changing of the Guard was about to commence. I remember the precision and utter seriousness with which the elaborate ritual was carried out. And I had to fight the urge to yell out something silly to make the guards smile, as is fashionable at Buckingham Palace.

Well, turns out, the Changing of the Guards is about as much a ceremony as the public has access to, unless you're a relative of the war dead. Last week, Dana Milbank, National Political Reporter for The Washington Post, published an article about how the government is limiting media coverage of funerals of the war dead at Arlington Cemetery, even after families consent to coverage. Gina Gray, former Public Affairs Director for the Cemetery, publicly opposed the Pentagon's limitations. She was demoted, then fired — she believes, as retaliation. And, now, military authorities are examining her termination. Dana and Gina join us today to give us the story.

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