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Cotton, Hassan, and Warren Introduce the Full Military Honors Act

February 6, 2019

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senators Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) today introduced the Full Military Honors Act, a bill that would allow all Medal of Honor recipients and former prisoners of war to receive a full military honors burial ceremony with an escort, regardless of rank. Currently, full military honors with an escort are reserved for senior officers, non-commissioned officers, and servicemembers killed in combat. The Full Military Honors Act passed the Senate in December of 2018. Representatives Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Elaine Luria (D-Virginia), Jimmy Panetta (D-California), and Van Taylor (R-Texas) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.


"Rank is not the sole or final measure of service to this country," Senator Cotton said. "The dignity of a fallen servicemember's interment should be measured by their courage, not simply the insignia on their sleeves or shoulders. The Senate passed this bill once before and we should move quickly to pass it again to show our servicemembers and their families that the United States will always honor its veterans appropriately for their service."

"The extraordinary individuals who earned Medals of Honor or were held as prisoners of war deserve a full military honors burial ceremony, regardless of their ranks," Senator Hassan said. "We owe every sign of our respect and gratitude to those who have given the highest level of service to our nation, and I urge the full Senate to pass this bipartisan bill without delay."

"It's so important that we honor our veterans and servicemembers," said Senator Warren. "I'm glad to partner with Senator Cotton and Senator Hassan on a bipartisan bill to provide veterans who receive the Medal of Honor or Prisoner of War medal with a full military honors funeral-regardless of their rank. These veterans served our country honorably and courageously and we owe them and their families the very best.

Background:

  • Most veterans who are eligible for burial in Arlington are entitled to a bugler, a firing party, and a casket team (all part of the full military honors ceremony). However, the additional funeral escort honors are currently reserved for certain retired officers and those who were killed in action.
  • Escort honors include a caisson and a marching element made up of a band and a color guard.
  • The Full Military Honors Act would provide full military honors with an escort to both Medal of Honor recipients and POWs, regardless of their rank.




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