WASHINGTON – Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) announced changes Friday to federal rules preventing the placement of American Flags on Veteran graves on Veterans Day.
Federal floral regulations for National Veterans Cemeteries had allowed the practice only on Memorial Day.
In a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki in November, Rep. Duncan said, “Veterans, their families, and Cub Scouts are just some of the many volunteers who put small American Flags on gravesites at Veterans cemeteries every year. This is a sacred act honoring our Veterans, and it should not be limited to just Memorial Day.”
In his response to Rep. Duncan last week, Secretary Shinseki announced changes that will allow flags to be placed on gravesites at National cemeteries on Memorial Day and any other day of the year on a case-by-case basis.
Last year, many East Tennessee residents were appalled to learn they might not be able to place American flags on gravesites at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery in Knoxville on Veterans Day.
The Tennessee State Department of Veterans Affairs had been yielding to the federal regulations regarding the placement of flags.
“There was no logic behind the original rule, and I think everyone realized that from the beginning,” Duncan said. “I am pleased that federal officials have made these appropriate, common-sense changes so volunteers can continue to honor our Veterans with the symbol of the Country they served.”