New legislation could protect flags on graves

Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113) and Sen. Kevin C. Kelly (R-21) have introduced legislation which protects the placement of flags at the gravesites of war veterans around Memorial Day.

“It is my hope that this bill will provide enough time to properly prepare for this important day and help us remember those who were lost,” said Kelly.

Current law prohibits any town, cemetery association or ecclesiastical society from enacting bylaws restricting the placement of the U.S. flag on veterans’ graves from the Saturday before Memorial Day until the Monday after July 4. The new bill would prohibit such restrictions starting from the Wednesday prior to Memorial Day.

“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,” said Perillo. “This bill will give them a wider window to accomplish that.”

Al Sabetta of the Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 in Shelton voiced support for this legislation.

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