Families United Response to AP’s Release of U.S. Marine Death Photo
Nation’s Largest Military Family Organization Asks News Organizations to Refrain from Using Gruesome Image of Fallen Hero
Washington, DC – Merrilee Carlson, President of Families United For Our Troops and Their Mission, the nation’s largest military family organization, released the following statement concerning the Associated Press decision to publish a photo of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, in his final moments of life. Lance Cpl Bernard was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush on August 14th in southern Afghanistan. Lance Cpl Bernard’s father had asked the Associated Press not to publish the image of his dying son.
“As a Gold Star mother, I know the horrific pain that comes with the death of a child. The last thing that a mother or father wants to see is their child in immense pain and dying on the battlefield. Unfortunately because of AP’s tactless and insensitive decision to disregard the request of a grieving father, Lance Cpl Bernard’s family will be forced to relive their pain every time that photo is republished.
Publishing this photo is not worth the pain that it has and will continue to inflict. This family should be able to move on with the difficult task of remembering their son as he lived, not as he died. This photo only serves to magnify the grief of a family who has already suffered enough.
LCPL Bernard and his fellow fallen Heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom of speech and freedom of the press. AP’s right to publish this photo should not come at the cost of causing this family additional pain. Associated Press should honor the sacrifice of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard and honor the request of his family by not reprinting this tragic photo.
Note - Merrilee Carlson is President of Families United For Our Troops and Their Mission. Her son, Sgt. Michael Carlson, was killed in Iraq in 2005.
About Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission
Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. We are a grassroots coalition of Gold Star and Blue Star families including some with loved ones in harm's way, Veterans, and Americans who share a deep appreciation for our men and women in uniform and support them in their efforts to make America safer by allowing them to complete their mission.