Bacon offers bipartisan Headstones for Honor Act

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) on Feb. 25 introduced a bipartisan bill that would direct the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to furnish headstones, markers and medallions for the graves of enslaved individuals and those who performed military functions despite ineligibility to serve in the United States Armed Forces.

Rep. Bacon is the original cosponsor of the Headstones for Honor Act, H.R. 6830, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), to allow the final remains of these individuals to be memorialized with a headstone or marker from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  

“Today I am very proud to join my colleague and fellow-veteran Anthony Brown to correct the record and ensure these early Americans are appropriately honored,” Rep. Bacon said. “Even though long overdue, this meaningful legislation is appropriate and just, and I urge my colleagues to support its speedy consideration and enactment.”

“These individuals exhibited bravery and lived through immense and horrific hardship,” said Rep. Brown. “Our country owes them and their descendants a debt of gratitude. Properly marking their headstones is one small token of the respect and dignity they have earned.”

According to Rep. Bacon’s statement, documented evidence exists about men who were enslaved serving alongside American armies from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, many of whom were not granted freedom for their service. In the case of the Confederacy, these individuals were forced to support the fight to maintain their own enslavement, according to the statement. 

“From our earliest days as a nation, black Americans have fought for and sacrificed for our country. However, it is not well understood that many did so under the unjust bonds of slavery,” said Rep. Bacon, a 30-year Air Force veteran. “Until now, their service was rendered without the recognition they have earned.”