From the Houston Chronicle — Originally published in print Wednesday, March 4

... Not since 1991 have Americans been allowed to see media images of caskets returning to Dover, Del., the main arrival base for soldiers killed overseas.

But last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that news media may once again photograph those coffins, though only with the consent of the individual families. ...

That is as it should be. The first consideration must be the wishes of the bereaved family ...

The country as a whole was not asked to make personal sacrifices to pursue the Iraq war. It fell to the military and their families to shoulder that colossal burden. Today, those troops and families are even further from most people’s thoughts, as domestic worries overshadow the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan .

So it is particularly important to remember that these wars are still being fought and that our soldiers are still coming home in flag-wrapped caskets. At least now — if families are willing to share their grief and pride — we can pay our respects to each individual warrior.

More in Labor

Labor Department to honor gay rights leader

Read more »