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House, Senate Agree On Language For D.C. Flags At Military Services

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Military service members and veterans who live in the District may soon receive an honor that has been denied them for generations. 

When the military holds ceremonies for service members each soldier is honored by having their home state flag flown. That's not the case for people from D.C. and other U.S. territories, however. Now, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has come one step closer to getting that policy changed. 

Language that would require D.C.'s and other territories' flags to be flown at military ceremonies has made it into the conference report for the Defense Authorization bill. There's no vote scheduled for that bill, but House and Senate lawmakers on the conference committee have agreed on the language.

Norton says the current policy is a huge slight to District military servicemen and women and veterans.

"Flag may seem a small matter to some but not to a D.C. veteran who went to Iraq three times, was welcomed home three times and everybody's flag was raised except his," she said. "You know, in this country we honor foreign visitors by raising their flag, you would think it wouldn't be a matter of controversy." 

Lobbying efforts by D.C. veterans and their families helped make the effort to change the policy a success, Norton added.

"I think when we made it more visible by letting them see real veterans it had an effect," she said.

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