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Congress Passes Bill Allowing Parents to be Buried With Fallen Soldiers

October 1, 2010

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Congress Passes Bill Allowing Parents to be Buried With Fallen Soldiers

imageA bill allowing parents of fallen soldiers to be buried with their children in any of the 131 national veterans’ cemeteries was passed this week by both houses of Congress, US Senator John F. Kerry?s office said today.

The Corey Shea Act, named for a 21-year-old Army specialist who was killed in Iraq in 2008, was sponsored by Kerry in the Senate and US Representative Barney Frank in the House.

?I feel more at peace now than I have in almost two years. I just feel elated that I can be buried with my son,? said Shea?s mother, Denise Anderson of Mansfield, who said she was ?tired? from the yearlong fight to get the bill passed.

The bill was introduced in 2009 after Anderson was denied a petition to be buried with her son at Bourne National Veteran?s Cemetery because under federal law, plots in military cemeteries were reserved only for soldiers, their spouses, and minor children, according to Kerry’s office.

Since Shea had neither a spouse nor children, Anderson sought Kerry?s and Frank?s help to be buried with her son.

?He didn?t have a wife or child and I didn?t want him to be buried alone. Who wants their loved one to be alone?? she said.

Frank said in a statement that the request was small in comparison to ?what the country owes Denise Anderson, a Gold Star mother.?

?No parent of a fallen soldier should have to worry about their child being buried alone,? Kerry said in a statement. ?I know Corey would be unbelievably proud of his mother for her loving determination to honor his memory and ease the burden of other parents who have suffered this unspeakable loss.?

?It makes me feel good helping others. I?ve always been that way, and Corey was the same way,? said Anderson.

The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Tuesday, said Brigid O?Rourke, a spokeswoman from Kerry?s office. The House passed the bill Wednesday night with a voice vote, meaning there was enough support a roll call vote wasn?t required.

?Without the help of Senator Brown and Senator Kerry and Representative Frank? the bill wouldn?t have passed, said Anderson. Senator Scott Brown is on the Veteran Affairs Committee and helped shepherd it through there, she said.

“They’re my angels and they helped push this along,” she said.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law within a week, said O?Rourke.

Photo: Steven Senne/AP