See if you can say that three times fast.
Members of Congress are reacting swiftly to the recent news about the National Cemetery Administration decision halting flag-folding recitatations at military funerals at any national cemetary – because of one complaint:
A group of congressmen has asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to reconsider its ban on the flag-folding ceremony at military funerals after the agency decided last month to streamline burials at federal cemeteries.
“The flag folding recitation is a longstanding tradition which brings comfort to the living and honor to the deceased,” Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., writes in his letter Tuesday signed by 11 other congressmen. “The recitations accompanying each fold pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families, the nation they proudly serve, and the beliefs that they hold dear.”
Veterans Affairs made the new policy decision last month, after a complaint was filed about a service at Riverside National Cemetery in California.
At issue are secondary meanings attached to the folding of the flag. As the Memorial Honor Guard makes the 13 folds — traditionally representing the original colonies — they recite “the first fold of our flag is a symbol of life, the second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life, etc.”
A complaint about the recitation for the 11th fold — “in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” — garnered a complaint at the California cemetery, and according to reports, prompted the ban.
In a Sept. 27 memo, the National Cemetery Administration halted the ceremony. It was an effort to create uniform services throughout the military graveyard system, spokesman Mike Nacincik said.
But it’s caused a furor among veterans. Members of the American Legion have been flooding national headquarters since the decision, according to Ramona Joyce, an organization spokeswoman.
“We definitely think is a matter left up to the families,” she said. “It’s a nice ceremony; we’ve been doing it for years. Our honor guards have been doing it.
“It’s respectful and it’s something the family should be able to choose to have done if they so wish for their veteran,” Joyce said.
Nacincik said the 13-fold recital is not part of the U.S. Flag Code and is not government-approved.
Then why an “official” ban if it’s not “officially” government-approved? Why not let each individual family decide, rather than taking that right away from them? Isn’t that the least they could do for the men and women who have given their lives to protect such freedoms?
“That the actions of one disgruntled, whining, narcissistic and intolerant individual is preventing veterans from getting the honors they deserve is truly an outrage,” Rees Lloyd, 59, said. “This is another attempt by secularist fanatics to cleanse any reference to God.”
Here’s background on the story, via Stop The ACLU.
Rob at Flopping Aces is justifiably outraged, and provides a contact name for the National Cemetary Association in case you want to let them know how you feel about this. While you’re at it, contact your reps in the House and Senate and urge them to put pressure on the National Cemetery Administration to reverse course.