Just received a cc'ed email from Ann sent late last night to her Senate and Congressional reps. First, we can now confirm that Sue is home safe with her family (yay!). However, in regards to Flo's remains: the last Ann heard was that he was at the US Embassy in Haiti, but some articles she's read suggest that he is still at the airport. So that means that as far as his family is concerned, the whereabouts of Flo's remains are unknown. The funeral home in charge of Flo's arrangements received an email Thursday morning from the Commander at Health and Human Services who has been working on Flo's case. It said that the plans for repatriation of American Citizens (his caps, not mine) are still not concrete, and that someone from DMORT FACT will be in conctact with the funeral home or Ann (unclear) about getting records for Flo (I presume that means dental records). He then goes on to say that it may take awhile due to the scope of the earthquake, and thanks the funeral home for their service to the family.
I think we all understand the magnitude of this, that many Americans were lost in Haiti and that no one can really plan for disasters like this. We also understand how dangerous it could be to bring Flo's body back without going through all the proper avenues and channels due to disease, etc. But for a mother to be in the dark about the whereabouts and safety of her child's body is completely unacceptable. When a soldier dies in a hot, tropical country, their bodies are treated with the utmost regard, and are brought home as quickly as possible. They are not left in a body bag in the heat next to their friends alone for hours on an airport tarmac more than a week after dying. Flo deserves the same sort of respect that soldiers receive. He is an American citizen; he was in Haiti in the hopes of making that country a better place. Surely we can honor what he has done by bringing him back here and giving him a proper memorial as quickly as possible. The longer this drags on, the more horrifying it becomes.
As an aside, a State Department rep that I spoke to earlier this week had, until I suggested it to him, apparently never thought about the possibility of cremation in Haiti with cremains being brought stateside.
We are working on a plan of action now; it seems like one good place to start before anything is set in stone would be to, once again, call your Senate and Congress reps and press them, as well as Sanders and Leahy in Vermont.