George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Re: The honor being denied the
military heroes whose bodies
are returned home to be buried

Delivered via fax: #202-456-2461


It’s on the record that you have no problem whatsoever in taking political advantage of flag draped coffins. You approved the ad in which you use a flag draped coffin of one who died at the World Trade Center on 09/11/2001. I do not know the name of the person in that coffin, but there is a better than good chance that I may have known that person. By some ill-conceived notion, you think that the airing of that body makes you appear a great leader. That is not, however, what your ad accomplishes.

You even had no problem in showing the before bodies and the after (after the mortician’s work) bodies of Saddam Hussein’s two dead sons. That also did nothing to enhance your image.

Conversely, it is on the record that you feel it inappropriate to let us see the flag draped coffins of our service persons who gave up their lives fighting YOUR war. Your administration has spouted that it would be too depressing for the citizens of America to see, on the nightly news, the offloading of these bodies; too depressing to see the final homecoming of these poor people who died fighting a war based on your flawed and/or misrepresented intel, your hunger for world domination, your greed in seeing that your buddies get all the no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq while we adults and children in this country live with hunger because of budget cuts which have been reallocated to rebuild Iraq. With reference to Iraq, do you think that if you broke it, you bought it?

Your administration even spins the reason for not showing our dead sons’ and daughters’ coffins as their remains are returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Your people say that they are honoring the privacy of the families of those who died. Well, all flag draped coffins look chillingly similar. So absent announcing the names of the remains inside the coffins, no person’s privacy could be invaded.

What you REALLY don’t want is for American citizens to be reminded daily that the wages of war are death, at least to those in the coffins. Somehow, you think it better to distance yourself from those dead Americans. Perhaps your advisers tell you that it is far easier that the public deal with the abstract concept of numbers, numbers killed, numbers injured. Odd it is that this policy started with your father’s administration. This is one of the few policies in your administration which is totally transparent. We, the American citizens, can see right through your “rationale” on this topic.

By sneaking these dead bodies and body parts back into their homeland, under cloak of darkness, cameras banned, one could conclude that you are ashamed of these brave men and women; or, that perhaps they dishonored America, that they did something terribly wrong and are therefore being secreted home. Well they did nothing wrong, nothing but die for what they thought was right while fighting YOUR war.

Yet, the cameras are always rolling when these service persons are deployed to fight YOUR war. The cameras are also there to show the lucky service persons, the ones who make it home alive…and may there be more and more of them. For the ones who do live, we see the tears of their families as they hug their service persons, we see their little children being held by their mothers or their fathers who returned from YOUR war alive.

Did you ever wonder what impact is visited on the families of those who lost their loved ones, especially the children when they watch the love-filled welcome home ceremonies which the survivors of YOUR war receive? I pray that there will be more and more survivors. Clearly, each and every one of the survivors so deserve the hugs and kisses they get upon returning to this land.

Did you ever wonder what goes through a child’s mind and heart when they see the live soldiers holding their children, while they know that their parent died in the same war? Can you even imagine the toll on these children while watching these welcome home ceremonies, while they know that they, the children of the heroes who died, now have only a flag folded into a triangle, when once they had a parent?

If you can understand this, you will reverse the order which keeps the press from showing our dead heroes coming home that final time.


Janice B. Centenni

cc: Donald Rumsfeld
United States Senators
United States Representatives
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Lou Dobbs
Chris Matthews
Dan Rather
Tom Brocaw
Peter Jennings
American Press Association
Paul Krugman
General Tommy Franks (Retired)
General Wesley Clark (Retired)