Two bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that would ban protesting at military funerals.
The House bill, Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act HR 5037, was sponsored by Mike Rogers (R-MI) and has garnered the support of many House members including Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN), Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), and now House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).
Hastert issued this statement:
“I have cosponsored this legislation because the brave men and women of our military who have given their lives in service to our country deserve to be buried peacefully and with dignity. These fallen soldiers have helped us to fight the terrorists who seek to harm America’s families and children. The soldiers and their grieving families should not be subject to disrespect when they have died while honorably serving the United States.”
HR 5037 bars protesting one hour before, during, and one hour after military funerals at cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration or at Arlington Cemetery.
Even Bayh (D-IN) along with Saxby Chambliss (S-GA) sponsored a bill in the Senate, Dignity for Military Funerals Act of 2006 S 2452. The Senate bill bars protesting one hour before, during, and one hour after a funeral ceremony, procession, or memorial service of a current or former military serviceman or woman.
Why do we need bills like these to pass? To protect the families of our fallen servicemen and women from freaks like this.
Additional thoughts: I know many conservatives will not agree with me on this issue, and I understand why. Many are concerned about the slippery slope of free speech oppression, which is a legitimate concern.
However, I am particularly sensitive to issues that pertain to the military because several members of my family have been in the military. My grandfather retired a few decades ago as an Army Major and is now buried in Arlington Cemetery (he fought in WWII) and more recently, my uncle retired from the Army reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel (he fought in Vietnam and the first Gulf War).
I am humbled when I meet someone who is in the military because the sacrifice he or she agreed to take on to protect me, my family, and my country is an immense one. Not only are these people risking their lives, but their lifestyles are very hard. They move around a lot, the pay is unimpressive to say the least, and the life is stressful. Unfortunately, many military families don’t make it and break up. When one of these service men or women is killed, the very least our country can offer in return is a peacful funeral without protesters one hour before, during, and one hour after.