The Final Salute: A tribute to the Subjugation of women in this War

These photographs by Todd Heisler et al are a misleading form of production. They attempt a sort of hyper-humanization of the American side by creating empathy through the absence of a person and subsequent displacement of that loss onto an object (a coffin, a flag, etc). Now it is sad that these young women are now widows, and some of the photographs are heart-wrenching, and it is for that very reason that they must be treated with a modicum of distrust.

Why is the American woman always represented in this way?  Why is she always the grieving widow in wartime, always a sad, sexualized mother or wife who has lost her brave, white husband for the greater good of the country?

The night before the burial of her husband’s body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of “Cat,” and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted.”

Final Salute Gallery

Final Salute Gallery

Inside the mortuary, Katherine Cathey draped herself over her husband’s casket before putting personal items in it. Flowers from their wedding, a bottle of Jim’s favorite perfume and an ultrasound of their son were some of the things Katherine placed next to 2nd Lt. James Cathey’s remains.

Like James Castonguay comments, prime viewing media such as this blog/photo gallery focuses on the heroism and humanity of people who dedicate their lives to saving the country, not to those who are left beyond in the aftermath, not the story of the citizens, not the story of women, not the story of the real war.


~ by 1womanarmy on April 28, 2008.

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