Not enough time to put flags on veterans’ graves for Memorial Day?

State Rep. Jason Perillo of Shelton successfully worked to pass an amendment through the House that would protect the placement of flags at the gravesites of war veterans around Memorial Day.

The amendment would alter the state’s current flag code legislation to allow more time to place the gravesite flags before the holiday in late May.

“We took action in past sessions of the legislature to make sure that no cemetery could restrict the placement of American flags at veterans’ gravesites during the season when their sacrifices service are observed,” Perillo recently said on the floor of the House of Representatives at the state Capitol.

“What we have learned is that the time frame allotted for flag placement is too narrow, and that VFW organizations and American Legion members need more time to ensure adequate placement of these flags in advance of the Memorial Day holiday,”Perillo said. “This bill will give them a wider window to accomplish that.”

Watch Perillo speak for the amendment on the House floor in this YouTube video:

The current law

Current law prohibits any town, cemetery association or ecclesiastical society from enacting bylaws restricting the placement of U.S. flags on veterans’ graves from the Saturday before Memorial Day until the Monday after the Fourth of July.

The new bill would prohibit such restrictions starting from the Wednesday prior to Memorial Day.

Need more time to place flags

“In the past we have always been able to go into cemeteries five or six days ahead of Memorial Day to place these flags,” said Al Sabetta of the Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 in Shelton.

“We are all volunteers and most of us are up there in age, and it’s time consuming," Sabetta continued.

“What we were finding was that cemeteries were using the law to actually prevent us from getting in to place flags before the Saturday prior,” said Sabetta, who lives in Shelton and is a Korean War veteran. “That’s why we were looking to get the law changed so we can have enough time to get in there and do the job right.”

Amendment passed unanimously

The amendment to HB 6457: An Act Concerning the Display of the State or National Flag at Half-Staff passed without opposition on a voice vote in the House chamber. The underlying bill passed with only one vote in opposition. The amended bill awaits action in the state Senate.

Perillo is a Republican who represents the 113th District, which includes most of Shelton.