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Thursday, April 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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What readers are saying

We asked readers to share their thoughts on this photograph that was published in The Seattle Times and the issues surrounding its publication.

Here's a representative sample of the more than 175 comments submitted.


The Seattle Times should be congratulated for publishing the picture. The Defense Department is wrong. The question isn't whether the picture is hurtful to relatives, it obviously isn't. The problem for DOD is that they don't want Americans to see the real price of war. As per the MASH TV program, there are two rules of war:

Rule number one is that young men die. Rule number two is that you can't change Rule number one.

— Scott Carpenter,
Bellevue, Wash.

I am the mother of a deployed United States Marine. I was appalled that your newspaper choose to publish such a picture. Our fallen serviceman deserve all the respect they have died for. For your company to profit from their loss of life is without merit. You once again proved to me that your newspaper is without morals.
— Wendy Stansbury,
Bellevue, Wash.

"I have to commend you on having the journalistic integrity to show the truth about what is happening. Too many media outlets are bowing to the pressure of the government regarding what they may and may not publish. By our Constitution and Bill of Rights, the media are protected in their work.

If someone is bothered by the coverage, they have the option of looking elsewhere. Yes, the photos are disturbing but the whole war situation is disturbing. This represents the truth, however ugly. It should be available to the public. Thank you."

— Caroline Quinn,
Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

"The Seattle Times is guilty of trafficking stolen merchandise. They are using the photo not to show respect to the families, but to stir up their left-wing readers. Yes, those of us who live in the military community and show respect for these fine Americans every day are well aware of their sacrifice. However, we consider their flight home to their loved ones exempt from exploitation for political purposes. I am glad the morbid woman lost her job. I hope she will forever be known as the GHOUL!!"

— Karen Mango,
Hampton Cove, Ala.

"I think the photo is powerful, moving and respectful. Newspapers cannot print photos like this (per pester from our own government) but it's okay to print photos of our dead hanging mutilated from bridges? I am dumbfounded that Tami Silicio lost her job over this. That is shameful - not the photo. "

— Jill Barton,
Seattle

"There should be more concern about photographers sneaking through people's backyard's and taking trashy tabloid photos of celebrities than on one who bravely took a snapshot of the stark reality of one of the issues our world faces today. There should be no dishonor nor shame to those who have fallen while fighting bravely for their country. Death is a sad truth to any war no matter which side you are on. The great photo published in last Sunday's Seattle Times reflects that....and much more. "

— Jim Tsen,
Seattle

"I think the woman's reasoning behind her selling the photo is an out and out lie. What in her picture demonstrates the great care we take to return the soldiers remains to the USA? To me it was sold just for profiteering and to tug at the heartstrings of Americans during an election year."

— Steve Schram,
Milwaukee, Wis.

"I think this photo is one of the most powerful pictures ever to have been put on the front page of ST. It definitely got my attention and helped me to realize the severity of our war. The fact that someone got fired over giving ST permission to take this photo is not right. It's what's going on, and everyone has the right to see it. If the citizens of the United States were able to witness the suicide attack into the twin towers on September 11th, we should be able to see behind the scenes results of the fight back."

— Lisa Ramsey,
Tucson, Ariz.

"I cannot believe this sensitive lady and her husband lost their jobs over this photograph. What has happened to our democracy? Tami was just trying to ensure to the fallen troops' families that their bodies were being handled respectfully. We never get a report of the Iraqi casualties (not accountability) and not much information about the troops we have lost from this horrible Iraqi situation. Many times I feel we are reliving the McCarthy Era in the 50s. We sure haven't advanced much. Shame on the short-sighted Maytag unit."

— LaDonna Robertson,
Des Moines, Wash.

"I utterly protest your most insensitive publishing of photos of coffins of US Service Women and Men who have given their lives for this country. These coffins deserve the utmost respect in privacy before they are released to their next of kin. Who are you to make decisions for the next of kin? Was it your husband, wife, daughter, son, mom or dad? What a commentary on the selfishness of mankind to make a dollar on death. Shame, shame on all of you."

— Robert Senesi,
Charlestown, W.Va.

It took guts to print these photos...free press in this country is DEAD. I would expect that the US government will shut down The Seattle Times by the end of the day.
— Don Dachner,
Tracy, Calif.

"I feel very strongly that the photo should have been published, and that the ban on such photos, or photos of any other type that don't compromise our security, should not exist. I doubt the sincerity of the reasoning behind the ban, as it reeks of politics rather than sensitivity."

— Robert Berry,
Seattle

"Since an article I read said that The Seattle Times was stating that most emails and phone calls were supporting the use of the photograph, I thought that I should write. First of all, it is naive or deceitful of you to assert that mainstream America's opinions would mirror responses you have received. Secondly, taking the photograph was against the law. Obviously, you think that people should break the law if they don't agree with it. Then, there should be no consequences for doing so. Third, it is only natural for you to not understand the sensitivity that is the reasoning for such a ban. The print and video media LOVE to be in the face of every grieving accident or criminal victim and ask how they are feeling. It is so nauseating to see and read such "news" coverage! You can tell the story without such inappropriate behavior. Finally, these soldiers that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom deserve our respect and their families deserve their privacy. This policy is totally in order!"

— Timothy Turner,
Poulsbo, Wash.

I think the photo is a powerful reminder of what our men and women are dealing with right now. I think the American people NEED to see images such this so we can at the VERY least appreciate what a tremendous sacrifice is being made. I certainly think that Ms. Silicio should not have been terminated for this photograph. Regards - Laura Anckner Jacksonville, Florida
— Laura Anckner,
Jacksonville, Fla.

"The photo is gut-wrenching, and we need to see it. It's a powerful statement, and we should thank Tami Silicio."

— Pat Browning,
Hanford, Calif.

"I do not understand how a photo that does not feature graphic images can be considered disrespectful. The photo simply shows the truth:

In war, people die and their bodies have to be returned to their loved ones. The rule against media images of coffins is simply an attempt to downplay the realities of war. It is based on politics that took root in the Vietnam War, not on a desire to protect families members."

— Crystal O'Hara,
Woodland, Calif.

I feel honored to be an American as I see this touching photo. I appreciate this honesty. I cannot be there to support my country, but I am at home supporting our troops. It is refreshing to know that they are taken care of and honored even in the finality of death. This is a positive photo. I have a heart felt gratitude for what these brave men and women are doing to provide freedom and justice. To say "Thanks" is not enough for those men and women that are in those coffins, but to know that they are not forgotten and set aside is important to me.

— Tiffany McCaffery,
Greenwood, NY

"Thank you for bravely doing the job the rest of the media has failed to do. I'm sorry for the woman and her husband who lost their job but salute their courage."

— Patrick Briggs,
Pasadena, Calif.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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