On October 29, 2009, before the sun was even up, something momentous seemed to be happening in Delaware. There, at Dover Air Force Base-the primary entry point for American military casualties from overseas-in a solemn and choreographed media event, President Obama served as a witness to and participant in eighteen “dignifi ed transfers,” the careful and routinized procedure for transporting American military dead back home. 1 By making this predawn trip and orchestrating this staid photo opportunity, saluting the dead and praying over their bodies, Obama seemed to be fl outing the repressive tendencies that had characterized President George W. Bush’s approach to the media and the casualties of the War on Terror. By joining this funerary ritual, Obama demonstrated his support for revisions to the Dover press policy that the Department of Defense made in February 2009. 2 This change overturned the ban on media coverage for the arrival of military dead at Dover that had been in place since 1991. The prohibition was initially implemented by the Administration of George H. W. Bush during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, and was then fortifi ed prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush. Generally unremarked upon and often ignored prior to that point, the Dover press ban ignited a controversy in 2004 when the government was compelled to release almost three hundred photos of precisely those arrivals. Five years later, the policy instituted by the Obama Administration permitted journalists to cover arrival and related ceremonies of military casualties as long as they had permission from the families of the dead to do so.