Honoring Fallen Heroes

A horse-drawn caisson carries the flag-draped casket of Army Ranger Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe to his burial site in Arlington National Cemetery, April 10, 2003, in Arlington, Va. Capt. Rippetoe, a native of Colorado, died April 4 in Iraq when a civilian vehicle exploded at a coalition checkpoint. Rippetoe was the first soldier from the Iraqi conflict to be buried on the historic grounds.
AP/Chicago Tribune
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
It's maybe the most important 30 seconds on television. You can see it on the CBS Evening News, five nights a week. It's a segment called "Fallen Heroes" where in we learn the story of another American soldier killed in the streets of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan.

Personal sketches of ordinary people, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. Lives full of hope and promise, tragically ended half a world away by snipers or roadside bombs.

The White House and Pentagon don't want us to see pictures of flag draped coffins coming home, but when you see a photograph of a man smiling proudly with the wife and 3 young kids no doubt left deep in grief by their loss, you understand how real war is.

The producers who put the segments together tell me the families are grateful, for above all, they want to make sure their loved ones are not forgotten.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.