On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., urged U.S. Veterans Affairs Sec. Robert Wilkie to reverse the policy put in place limiting the number of people that may be in attendance at the funeral of a veteran.
Under current policy, any cemetery managed by the VA may restrict the number of attendees for a veteran’s committal service to 10 people.
The full letter is below.
Dear Secretary Wilkie,
I am deeply concerned about the current Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policy that prevents fallen Veterans from receiving the proper memorial service that they deserve, and I am writing to urge you to reconsider this policy.
As you know, dozens of my fellow lawmakers attended a funeral service last week in Atlanta, Georgia to honor the late Congressman John Lewis. Meanwhile VA National Cemetery Administration (NCA) policy empowers cemeteries to restrict the number of attendees for veterans’ committal services to 10 people—just a small fraction of those in attendance at Rep. Lewis’s service. If our country’s politicians can gather in large numbers to pay their respects, certainly our veterans deserve at least as much, if not more.
This policy does a great disservice to those in uniform who put their lives at stake to serve our great nation and deprives our fallen heroes, as well as their families, of the service that they deserve. I am, therefore, strongly urging you to reconsider this policy: all fallen veterans’ family and friends should be able to attend committal services so that they can come together to honor the lives of their fallen loved ones.