Arizona Legislature Passes Bill To Honor Fallen Service Members

March 1, 2024

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona legislators are taking action to honor the memories of fallen U.S. service members from the state.

On Monday, the Arizona House of Representatives passed HB 2818, which “requires all state agencies to lower displayed flags to half-staff upon the death of a service member having a home of record in Arizona,” according to the overview provided by the chamber.

The proposal passed the state house unanimously. Three members did not vote, and one seat was vacant.

State Representative Quang Nguyen, the bill’s sponsor, said, “This legislation is dedicated to the families of our servicemembers. Lowering the flags in respectful observance for a day is the least we can do to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation. For many of the families, it is all they have left.”

The bill would “direct the Governor to notify all state agencies to fly displayed flags in front of state buildings at half-staff within 48 hours after receiving notification of the death of a service member whose home of record is in Arizona.”

Earlier this month, the legislation was approved by the House Committee on Military Affairs & Public Safety with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 13-1 (with one member voting ‘present’).

Representative Nguyen also explained why he had named the bill after one of his constituents, saying, “I’m proud to name HB 2818 in honor of my constituent Daniel Aragaki, known to friends as Dan Ari. Dan was among the many, many veterans who weren’t treated very well when returning from service in Vietnam. Today, he actively volunteers with the Veterans History Project and the Sedona Area Veterans Community Outreach, supporting and honoring veterans in our state.”

At the beginning of this month, a U.S. Marine, Sgt. Alec Langen, was killed, alongside of four others, in a military helicopter crash near San Diego. Sgt. Langen was from Chandler, and left behind a wife of one month. Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs shared her thoughts over the tragedy on her “X” account, saying, “I am heartbroken at the loss of Sgt. Alec Langen, one of the five Marines killed in this week’s helicopter crash. On behalf of the State of Arizona, I extend my deepest condolences to Sgt. Langen’s family as we grieve the passing of one of Arizona’s finest warriors.”

The next week, Governor Hobbs ordered flags at Arizona state buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Sgt. Langen.

The Arizona Senate will now consider HB 2818.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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