House Passes Walden-Backed Legislation Honoring America's Fallen Heroes
The U.S. House of Representatives this evening passed legislation honoring the men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation in the Armed Forces. The Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act, H.R. 5037, cosponsored by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), would prohibit demonstrations from taking place at a ceremony during a funeral or memorial service for military personnel. The bill passed by a vote of 408 to 3 and now heads to the Senate for their consideration.
Disruption of a family's precious moments to respect and honor the life, bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who serve our nation and fight for freedom around the world is something that cannot be tolerated. A memorial service is a time for remembrance and mourning, to reflect on those who gave their all, not a time for protests and disrespect based on individual philosophies on war or the military," said Walden.
Specifically, H.R. 5037 prohibits a person from carrying out a demonstration within 500 feet of a cemetery at which a funeral or memorial service is to be held (including 60 minutes prior and 60 minutes following the service) if such a demonstration would include noise or a diversion that disturbs the peace. According to the legislation, demonstrations would include picketing; oration, speech, use of sound amplification equipment, or similar conduct before an assembled group of people; the display of any placard, banner, flag, or similar item; and the distribution of printed materials other than a program distributed as part of the funeral or memorial service ceremony.
Additionally, the bill would prohibit a demonstration at a cemetery under the control of the National Cemetery Administration or at Arlington National Cemetery, unless the demonstration has been approved by the cemetery superintendent or director, would establish criminal penalties for the demonstrations outlined, and expresses the sense of Congress that each state should enact similar legislation.