A bill that would allow parents of fallen veterans to be buried with their adult child in U.S. military cemeteries gained additional Congressional support today after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Corey Shea Act in an overwhelming 382-2 vote.

A bill that would allow parents of fallen veterans to be buried with their adult child in U.S. military cemeteries gained additional Congressional support today after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Corey Shea Act in an overwhelming 382-2 vote.


The vote was another landmark victory for Mansfield resident Denise Anderson, who helped pave the way for the legislation after her request to be buried with her deceased son, Army Spc. Corey Shea, was rejected by the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs last year.


After her request was denied, Anderson contacted the office of U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who introduced a legislative measure that would allow parents of fallen soldiers to be buried with their sons or daughters in special circumstances. 


Speaking from the House floor Monday, Congressman Frank spoke about Shea’s heroism and of Anderson’s bravery.


“We are grateful to her [Anderson] for giving us one more chance to show in a small way how much we honor those who have lost their lives. I cannot think of a greater disproportion than what Denise Anderson gave to us, her son, and what she has asked us to give in return,” said Frank.


Frank also read Anderson’s moving speech from when she testified before the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee of the House Veterans Affairs Committee last month.


“I was crying when I watched it,” said Anderson.  “I am glad that he [Frank] was on my side.”


Following the vote, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., thanked Anderson and Congressman Frank for supporting the bill.


“I would like to thank Mrs. Denise Anderson of Mansfield, Massachusetts – a woman whose courageous son gave his life for his country.  And I would also like to thank Congressman Frank, who has worked with this one woman to create legislation that will help military families all over the country.”


Tuesday’s vote was the last step in the House of a process that has moved at lightening speed. 


Less than a month ago, Mrs. Anderson and Congressman Frank were called to testify about the bill.  Two weeks later, a subcommittee of the House Veterans Committee voted in favor of the bill, and last week the full Veterans Committee voted to make the legislation part of a larger bill.


The initial bill, H.R. 761, which was introduced in January, later became known as the Corey Shea Act when the legislation became part of a larger bill.


The bill that passed Tuesday, the Veterans’ Small Business Assistance and Servicemembers Protection Act (H.R. 3949), amends Title 38, Section 2402 of the United States Code, and the Servicemember Civil Relief Act.


Under the amended title, a parent of a servicemember may be interred with their child if the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines that there is available space at the gravesite where the servicemember is interred and if the servicemember meets certain requirements.


The amended title will only apply to servicemembers who died on or after Oct.7, 2001, however.


The next stop in the legislative process is the Senate. If the Senate approves the bill, it will be brought to President Barack Obama, who will sign the bill into law.


Shea was killed in Mosul, Iraq on Nov. 12, 2008, after an Iraqi soldier opened fire at a joint security station. Shea and another American soldier were killed, and six others were wounded. He was laid to rest on Nov. 24, 2008, and is interred in Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass.


Stacey Gallotta can be reached at 508-967-3508, or at sgallott@cnc.com.