In military news, the Army reverses its decision to deny Louisiana National Guard Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Florich, who was killed when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed in a training accident, received a hero’s funeral at Arlington on Tuesday. The Army initially denied the family’s burial request because the Guardsman was killed during a training exercise and not while on active duty. Do you think the Army was right to reverse its initial decision to deny Florich burial with full honors in Arlington National Cemetery?
Army Denies Burial in Arlington and Reverses Decision After Pressure
Here is an excerpt from the original Army press release as to why they were denying Florich burial in Arlington.
“Staff Sgt. Florich’s death was tragic, and a deep loss to his family, the Army and our nation. His record of service makes him eligible for inurnment, so he may be forever enshrined in Arlington National Cemetery; however, since at the time of his death he was on active duty for training only, he therefore does not meet the well-established criteria for interment in Arlington National Cemetery.”
The army made an exception for Louisiana National Guard Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich following lobbying from Florich’s home state Congressional delegation. One of those representatives, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, who is also the chairman of the Veterans Affairs subcommittee that oversees Arlington, had the following to say about the ceremony.
“It was very moving; I was honored just to be present. It was one of the biggest crowds there in quite a while, and his family was very appreciative.
“Our country has always honored and respected those who make the ultimate sacrifice, and this was an honor Sgt. Florich absolutely deserved.”