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SPRINGFIELD – Throughout American history, only 32 individuals have lain in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, an honor reserved for the most esteemed American military heroes and statesmen. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) wants to extend that privilege to the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II as a tribute to all 16 million Americans, often referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” who served in our Armed Forces from 1939 to 1945.

Senate Joint Resolution 50 would urge the President and the United States Congress to take all necessary measures to ensure the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II be offered a state funeral, including, but not limited to, the option to lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

“An understanding of the Greatest Generation’s immeasurable sacrifice is something that all Americans share, and it’s something that has the power to unify Americans in a way that transcends our current divisions,” Manar said. “It would block out the political noise of the day and bring us together in reverence of the intrepid Americans who fought and died to ensure that the United States remains a beacon of hope and a blueprint for democracy across the globe.”

The President of the United States has the sole authority to designate a state funeral, while Congress reserves the authority to allow an individual to have their remains lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

Of the 353 Americans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of heroism during World War II, only two are alive today: Charles H. Coolidge of Tennessee and Woodrow Williams of West Virginia.

The Medal of Honor, presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress, is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is conferred upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through acts of heroism at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged against an enemy of the United States.

The Senate State Government Committee will vote on SJR 50 on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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