The Medal of Honor is the highest military award bestowed on our armed forces. For heroic actions during World War II there were 472 Medals of Honor awarded. Today, there are just two surviving recipients in the country and both of these heroes are of advanced age.
In order to honor all 472 heroes it has been proposed that the United States designate a State Funeral upon the death of the last surviving member. This would serve as a final salute to the 16 million men and women of the greatest generation who served in our armed forces from 1941 to 1945.
The President of the United States has the sole authority to designate a state funeral –– an honor which has traditionally been granted to former Presidents, Generals, and other highly distinguished Americans. There is a growing national movement to formally request that the President make this designation and Duxbury’s own Ron Ramseyer is helping lead this effort, with help from fellow Duxbury resident Frank Kemp and our local American Legion Post.
Their organization, State Funeral for World War II Veterans, is asking all of the individual states to endorse this idea, which I’m proud to say the Massachusetts Legislature formally did today!
This resolution was introduced by myself and Sen. Patrick O’Connor in a bi-partisan effort. We want to sincerely thank Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka, Veterans Committee co-Chairs Linda Dean Campbell and Michael Rush, Sen. Tarr, Rep. Jones and all of our fellow colleagues of both parties for warmly embracing and supporting this idea.
Today we held a small ceremony at the Duxbury American Legion post to formally read the Resolution, making Massachusetts now the 10th state to support this national effort. We were also joined by Gary Murad, State Funeral State Board member, along with John Magnarelli, Michael Thorpe, and Legion Commander James Griffin. plus staff from Rep. Kathy LaNatra. A copy of the Resolution will be transmitted to the President of the United States.
A fun side note to the story: About two years ago when there was a storm and power outages in Duxbury, I went over to the Senior Center with my laptop to hop on their WiFi. I was sitting on the couch in the reading room minding my own business when all of a sudden I hear my name mentioned. A gentleman on the other side of room said something to the effect of “I’ll reach out to Rep. Cutler.” It just so happens it was Ron Ramseyer sitting at the table with his back to me. I figured I would save him the trouble of reaching out so I walked over and said hello and that was how I first learned about this WWII State Funeral effort. Fast forward to today and I’m very pleased we were able to make this happen to put Massachusetts formally on record in support. So proud to see our local residents Ron, Frank and others leading this! For more info on their organization please see: https://worldwar2salute.org/