Save The Flag-Folding Recitations at Military Funerals

This is a “huzzah” to a bunch of Democrats for doing the right thing, and we have to join them. 

A group of Congressmen has asked the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to reconsider its obnoxious, disgusting, and horrible ban on the flag-folding ceremony at military funerals, after the agency decided last month to “streamline” burials at Federal cemeteries.  It gets worse.

However, the attempt to jerk their heads around in the right direction is being led by Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC).  He wrote a letter to the head of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs which said:

Dear Acting Secretary Mansfield:

We are writing to express our concern regarding recently announced policies banning the traditional flag-folding recitations by Memorial Honor Detail volunteers.

The flag-folding recitation is a long-standing tradition which brings comfort to the living and honor to the deceased.  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 belief that they hold dear.

As our nation loses 1,500 World War II veterans every day, we feel that it is vital to insure that the final rites for these American heroes will be permitted to include the freedoms of speech and religious expression enshrined in our Constitution, and defended by their service. 

We ask that you please reconsider the policy and allow the Memorial Honor Detail volunteers to perform the traditional flag-folding recitation if requested by the family of the deceased…

Now this letter was co-signed, and I want to give kudos to the representatives who co-signed it, and they’re all Democrats.  Ask me where the Republicans are on this.  I don’t know – maybe nobody called them up.  But it’s co-signed by Representative Chris Carney (D-PA), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)…and these are all great guys for doing this…Baron Hill (D-IN), Tim Holden (D-PA), Nick Lampson (D-TX), Jim Marshall (D-GA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Mick McIntyre (D-NC), Mike Ross (D-AR), Gene Taylor (D-MS), and John Tanner (D-TN).

Now I want to give you the second part of the problem, and it’s so obnoxious, that it’s hard for me to even write.  By the way, there’s nothing in the Constitution that bans religion.  Our Constitution disallows the state to have a religion that we all have to follow, but it doesn’t ban religion.  That is so abused by the atheists trying to take God out of everything, that I’m tired of it, and we have to fight back.  This is the moment to fight back, and I’ll give you the address on how to do it.

A complaint – one, lousy complaint….one! – made this happen.  The complaint about the recitation for the 11th fold, which says “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 prompted the ban.  One lousy comment!

By the way, the 12th fold recitation is geared to Christians, saying “the fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies in their eyes God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”  It’s just terrible…just terrible, as one World War II Navy veteran, Bobby Castillo, 85, said:   “It’s a slap in the face to every veteran.  When we got back from the war, we didn’t ask for a whole lot.  We just want to give our veterans the respect they deserve.  No one has ever complained about us.  I just don’t understand.”   He is part of a 16-member detail that has performed military honors at more than 1,400 services.  They were preparing to read the flag-folding remarks at the Riverside (CA) cemetery when graveyard staff stopped them. 

Charlie Waters, parliamentarian for the American Legion of California said he’s advising Memorial Honor Details to ignore the edict.  “This is nuts,” Walter said.  “There are 26 million veterans in this country and they’re not going to take us all to prison.”

So, I’m very grateful to Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC), and I think we have to join in turning this around.  This is disgusting.  You take a tradition that’s been going on for so long, and because one person doesn’t want to hear “God,” it stops?  No.  Let’s turn this around.  Turn this completely around, and this is how you’re going to do it. 

You have to be polite, so send your letters to:

The Honorable Gordon H. Mansfield
Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC  20420
Phone: 202-273-4817
Email: Gordon.Mansfield@va.gov

Send a letter, make a phone call, and send an email.  I want this man inundated.  I want millions of you to do this, to counteract one person who thinks they can rip God out of the universe, when our Constitution does not demand that.

All of this information is on my website www.drlaura.com//action/index.html?mode=view&tile=1&id=14918.  I am unbelievably grateful to these dozen Democrats who stood up to the plate immediately.  “Hoo-ah” to all of them!

UPDATE

We spoke to Congressman Shuler’s office and they’re still going forward with legislation to rescind this order.  While the “clarification” from the Department of Veterans Affairs only covers volunteer honor guards, many of the cemeteries have Federal employees performing the flag-folding. 

In addition, we heard from a soldier currently serving on a state Honor Guard, who told us that they often work in co-operation with local Veterans Service Organizations’ honor guards.  The Veterans Service Organizations not only donate their time, but they have to maintain their uniforms, pay for gas to get to the funerals, pay for blank ammunition and weapon servicing.  They’re supposed to be paid a small amount for their services, but while Congress has authorized the program to do this, they haven’t actually funded it.  We need to do a lot more to honor our veterans, both living and deceased.