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Larson Pays Tribute to our First Responders with the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act

February 22, 2018
Press Release

Hartford, CT – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement after holding a press conference at the Hartford Fire House Engine 1/Ladder 6 on the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act. Larson authored the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act that was signed into law within the Bipartisan Budget Act. This legislation amended the US Flag Code to fix a longstanding oversight to permit the Governor of a state or territory (or the mayor of the District of Columbia) to order the American flag to be lowered to half-staff in the event a life of a public safety officer is tragically lost in the line of duty.  

“I was honored to have been joined by Hartford’s finest today. Whether they are responding to a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or traffic accident, our police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel (EMS) are always the first to answer the call and selflessly put their lives in the harm’s way to protect our communities and our nation. In the unfortunate times when the ultimate sacrifice is given, they deserve the respect of having our Nation's flag flown at half-staff. I am proud that we were finally able to amend the US Flag Code to honor the service and sacrifice of these local heroes and their families,” said Larson.

“Hartford’s first responders represent the best of our City, and I’m grateful to Congressman Larson for getting the Hometown Heroes Act passed into law so that as a State and as a country we can honor all our first responders when tragedy strikes,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “I hope Connecticut never has to use the authority this bill grants, but this change is long overdue.  I also want to thank former Hartford Deputy Fire Chief Jim McLoughlin for his decades of advocacy on behalf of those who serve and his role in getting this legislation enacted.”

“As first responders, we serve to save. Firefighters never know if it will be their last time to give their loved ones a hug and a kiss goodbye as they get ready to head to the firehouse and report for duty.  In this indefinite self-less service, sacrifices are made. Sacrifices such as missing important events and memories with the family. And sacrifices such as giving your life to protect the life of a total stranger. That should be honored. And thanks to Congressman Larson and his leadership, in every city, in every town, from this point forward, that a firefighter gives their life in the line of duty, they can be immediately honored and recognized for what they are. And that is a hometown hero. On behalf of the national fire service, thank you very much Congressman Larson for your steadfast commitment to seeing this act signed into law and for being our champion,” said Hartford Fire Chief Reginald Freeman

“We are proud stand with Congressmen Larson as he announces the successful bipartisan effort he has led with the ‘Honoring Hometown Heroes Act’. This gesture demonstrates his and our State's commitment to our first responders and honors the selfless work they do every day. While we are honored and thankful to see this act successfully passed, we hope and pray that we never see it exercised on our flags,” said Deputy Hartford Police Chief Brian Foley.

“I'm grateful to Congressman John Larson for continuing to see this through. I'm grateful to the United States Congress for keeping the language of the original bill which was then attached to continuation of government funding, funding of the military, and support for our people in Puerto Rico and Texas amongst many other acts,” said Jim McLoughlin, Fire Administrator/Emergency Management Director, Town of Coventry (former Deputy Fire Chief, Hartford Fire Department).