Monthly Archives: April 2004

A Letter

“Dear Hal —

I read with great interest your article regarding the woman who was fired for taking the pictures of the flag-draped coffins on 4/7/04. My son, SSG Michael W. Mitchell, was killed on 4/4/04 in the first day of the Shiite uprising in Sadr City. He was one of eight soldiers killed that day in that attack. I am quite positive that he was inside one of those coffins in the picture.

I am happy that you ran the story and showed the picture. I would like everyone to know the devastation that this event has brought upon Mike’s family and friends. In fact, Mike’s grandpa at 86 says that this is the worst thing that has happened in his entire life — that says a lot right there!!!

Hiding the death and destruction of this war does not make it easier on anyone except those who want to keep the truth away from the people. I know that the current government policy has the bodies being flown in under the cloak of darkness. I also know that photographers are barred from the area so that pictures such as the one you ran in your newspaper cannot be shown to the people. Pictures such as these alter peoples’ perception and awareness and they have to admit the reality of the situation that young men and women are being killed.

I do believe our government learned this lesson from the war in Vietnam and that was one of the influential factors in bringing about its end.

Things are getting worse in Iraq and if there is anything that I can do so that other parents can be spared the pain that is happening in my life, I will do it.

In fact, I would be willing to furnish you a picture of my son in his casket if you would like to run it in your paper. Sort of a follow-up story that would just take it one step further than the picture shown inside the airplane with a bunch of anonymous flag-draped coffins. I don’t think I can be fired, as I do not have a job!!! I am currently in Germany taking care of my son’s fiancee because officially, she is not recognized by the U.S. Army even though she was the reason that he re-enlisted twice; the last time being just 3 weeks prior to his death.

Hal — I am just full of stories and if you and your newspaper are interested, just let me know.


Bill Mitchell
Atascadero, CA”

Note: Above discovered here.

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Local Opinion
Excerpt: Tip o’ the hat to Dave Ehrenstein for this Central Coast story. Here is Atascadero’s Bill Mitchell whose son was killed in the Sadr City uprising early this month. As his letter to a Seattle Times reporter says, he believes his son’s coffin was i…
Weblog: Gropinator
Tracked: April 30, 2004 08:27 AM