Today Congressman John B. Larson introduced the 'Honoring Hometown Heroes Act' in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, authored by Larson and co-sponsored by Congressman Joe Courtney and Congressman Jim Himes along with Congressman Peter King (R-NY), Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) amends the flag code to allow the American flag to be flown at half-staff following the death of any first responder killed in the line of duty.
"Every day our first responders put their lives on the line for the safety of our communities, in some cases giving the ultimate sacrifice to help others," said Congressman Larson. "The heroism these brave men and women have shown in just the last six months clearly shows the need to amend our flag code to allow states to fly the flag at half-staff for first responders killed in the line of duty. I am pleased to introduce this legislation in honor of all the first responders we have lost, and thank Representatives Courtney, Himes, King, Grijalva, Johnson and Andrews for joining me in this effort."
"The jobs and responsibilities of our first responders and law enforcement officers are more challenging and complex today than ever before," said Congressman Courtney. "When the unthinkable happens, and a first responder is killed in the line of duty, he or she deserves the honor this legislation would afford them. On Flag Day, I am pleased to join Congressman Larson in his effort to provide our police, firefighters and EMTs an honor equal to the risks they take, day in and day out, to keep our towns safe."
"As a former first responder, I have met countless men and women willing to put their own comfort and safety on the line to ensure the well-being of others. All too often, we never get the chance to thank them for this sacrifice," said Congressman Himes. "This bill will recognize first responders for the difficult, dangerous, and often thankless job they perform and ensure we are honoring the memory of those who have fallen in the line of duty."
While today Governors are allowed to order the flag to be flown at half-staff for members of the Armed Forces and present or former government officials, there is no language specific to first responders in the current flag code. Larson originally introduced the 'Honoring Hometown Heroes Act' in the 112th Congress after Windsor resident and Hartford firefighter Jim McLoughlin petitioned Congressman Larson to make a change to the U.S. Code, Title 4 which regulates the use of the American Flag. McLoughlin is the Founder of the National Honor Guard Commanders Association.