No family photos: When 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard came home from Iraq last fall, his mother wanted to photograph his arrival. The Pentagon wouldn't allow it because Karen Meredith's son, a fourth-generation soldier, was arriving home dead, a sniper's bullet in his head. The military's strict rules that prohibit the photographing of returning coffins apparently even apply to grieving families who want a personal memento of their tragedy. "It's bad enough that they won't let the country see the pictures of the caskets, but a grieving mother?" asked Meredith. "It's unforgiveable after what I lost." Bluntly insensitive DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable said that a hearse arriving at a funeral is essentially the same as a plane touching down on American soil carrying fallen soldiers: "It's a tarmac, not a parade ground." Ballard is one of 1,528 American soldiers killed in Iraq so far.

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