Washington, Feb 27 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that the Obama Administration is reversing an 18-year ban on news coverage of the return of war dead, allowing photographs of flag-covered caskets when families of the fallen troops agree.
"My conclusion was we should not presume to make the decision for the families," CBS News quoted Gates, as saying.
Although details are being worked out, the new policy will give families a choice of whether to admit the press to ceremonies at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the entry point to the US for the caskets of overseas war dead.
President Barack Obama asked for a re-examination of the blanket ban and supports the decision to change it, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
"I have always believed that the decision as to how to honor our fallen heroes should be left up to the families. The past practice didn't account for a family's wishes and I believed that was wrong," Vice President Joe Biden said.
For nearly 20 years the US has not allowed their citizens see their young men and women come home from war in flag draped coffins.
Except for photos obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the American public has not been allowed to witness the return of their fallen heroes.
Advocates for veterans and military families are split on the issue; some say they want the world to honor fallen troops or see the price of defending the country.
"There has never been a greater disconnect between those who serve in harms warm and those back home. All too often, the sacrifices of our military are hidden from view," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.(ANI)