Fight continues to pass legislation for full military honors at veteran funerals
Kathryn Sharp of Wasilla says it was tough trying to get full military honors for her husband Creig, a Vietnam veteran and retired Navy chief petty officer, when he died in 2018.
Sharp says she is now running into more roadblocks making sure other families in Alaska and around the country don't face the same situation her family did.
"When they sign on the dotted line to be in our military and fight for our country they sign up a blank check basically. Up to and including the cost of their lives. This is our opportunity to show them, without regulations blocking it or anything else, that we do respect what they have done," said Sharp.
Alaska U.S. Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, along with Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., have worked to push the Creig Sharp Funeral Honors for Veterans Act. The measure, introduced in May, would require military installations to develop a plan to ensure families of veterans who want full military honors get them.
But now the act is caught up in political red tape in Washington D.C.
The measure is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. A modified version is being proposed which strips out the language of the Creig Sharp Funeral Honors Veterans Act.
"With just about 20 legislative days left in the year, Inhofe said he introduced a skinny NDAA in case it’s needed to renew authorities that expire at the end of the year," The Hill reported on Oct. 29, later adding the skinny version also seemed destined to fail.
The change is disappointing to Kathryn Sharp. She says she is hearing from widows around the country about how they've encountered difficulty in getting honors for their military loved ones.
"I had a Korean War widow reach out to me and say that her husband didn't even get a folded flag," Sharp said. "And what are we telling our families if we just can't even be bothered to do that?"
Sharp has created a Facebook page hoping to spread the word of what's happening.
Jes Stugelmayer contributed reporting to this story.
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