You probably know ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt arrived Tuesday at Andrews Air Force Base, and were transferred to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
If you saw Nightly News last night, you also learned that over 2 dozen injured members of the Armed Forces also returned on that very same flight. 17 were on stretchers. 13 were ambulatory. Some went to Bethesda Naval. Some to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Others stayed at Andrews AFB for treatment at the base medical center.
What is remarkable is that you saw it at all.
Over 16,000 injured servicemen and women have returned from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We witnessed the arrival of just a handful yesterday.
Throughout this war, the images of the dead and wounded have been largely obliterated from your view. Unless those service men and women are members of your family, those who return home do so almost invisibly.
Why? Andrews Air Force Base does not usually allow the press on base when flights arrive with the wounded. We can't show you the injured returning. We also can't show you the coffins that arrive at Dover AFB.
Those of us who sit in the newsroom watch what is called a "raw feed".... the images that come live and unedited from a camera in the field. Yesterday, the images from Andrews came in for nearly an hour. We saw 8 gurneys come off the plane. Our newsroom got many calls from our colleagues: which one was Woodruff? Which one was Vogt?
But we couldn't tell. Every gurney we saw was exactly the same.
You could not tell if they were man or woman, black or white or brown, old or young. The medics cared for each one as if they were the only one on board. Their bandages were the same. Their tubes, their monitors, all the same. The only thing that wasn't the same was the attention from the public.
We know their families, their loved ones, their friends, their co-workers are every bit as worried about their future as the two men whose names are household words this week.
The danger is not that we focus on two journalists who are injured, it's that any of us forget about the ones we don't see.