Fallen Soldiers: Paying Tribute to America's Heroes
In February 2009, the administration under President Barack Obama lifted an 18-year ban on coverage of the return of military members killed in war by allowing families of the deceased to decide whether the news media may photograph the flag-covered caskets. The new policy, which was announced by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, reverses a ban put in place in 1991 by then President George H.W. Bush during the Gulf War. "If the needs of the families can be met and the privacy concerns can be addressed, the more honor we can accord these fallen heroes, the better," Gates said.
While some praised the move as rightly paying tribute to America's fallen and demonstrating to citizens the human cost of war, others criticized it as violating the privacy of grieving families. To hear both sides of the debate, listen to NPR's Tell Me More broadcast of mothers of fallen soldiers discussing the coffin photo ban.
As of May 5, 2009, The Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen database put the total number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan at 4,944, with 4,269 casualties attributed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and 675 to Operation Enduring Freedom. To see the faces, names and even stories of the thousands killed in these conflicts, visit the Fallen Soldiers archives below.
Washington Post Faces of the Fallen
A collection of information about each U.S. service member who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Search for service members by age, year of death, home state and military branch, or try an advanced search.
Photos are available for some, with the most recent casualties posted on the front page.
The New York Times Faces of the Dead
This interactive feature lets you scroll over a collection of small squares, each representing a U.S. service member who has died in Iraq or Afghanistan and has been identified by the Department of Defense. You can click on a square to learn more about that given person, and see his or her photo. Or, you can search by last name, home state or home town.
Military Times Honor the Fallen
Honoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Search Dept. of Defense announcements; search by name, rank or service; or search by date. Photos available where applicable. Site posts most recent casualites.
Legacy.com In Remembrance
Worldwide database of all American soldiers who have died while serving. Search by first or last name, alphabetically, by military branch, by date of incident, by state, by rank, by base or by location of incident. Site allows users to sign a specific fallen soldier's guestbook or create a tribute, free of charge.
If you are interested in making a donation of time, money or volunteer services to the families of fallen soldiers, the Fallen Heroes Memorial lists numerous Web sites that may serve as a starting point.