Navy widow's campaign for full honor burials hangs in the balance in D.C.

One year ago, an Alaskan woman began a fight to ensure all veterans receive full military burial honors after her late Navy husband was denied them.

(KTUU)

Now, this fight hangs in the balance as the United States Congress deliberates on national defense spending.

It was one of the hardest days of her life when Kathryn Sharp received a letter saying her late husband Creig Sharp, a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran, would not receive full military burial honors.

"Full military honors, including rifle details, are reserved for Medal of Honor recipients or active duty members who die in the line of duty," Sharp read from the denied application.

Sharp has spent the last year leading a campaign to restore full military honors for veterans, enlisting important allies like U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan along the way.

"Kathryn Sharp has done a tremendous job of raising this issue, not just to me as her senator, but nationally," Sullivan said in an interview with Channel 2. A veteran himself, Sullivan has championed Sharp’s cause by writing a bill that would fund funeral honors.

The Creig Sharp Funeral Honors for Veterans Act would “… require military installations to have a plan to provide full individual military funeral honors for all veterans upon their request and resources permitting.”

Sullivan says the bill passed the Senate with strong bi-partisan support. He says it was removed from the House's recent version of the National Defense Authorization Act as Congress debates funding for the border wall.

Sharp was devastated when she heard the House had gutted the provision.

“It's important to recognize that when a military member serves, their whole family serves,” Sharp said. “They, too, deserve the ability to show honor and respect for the service of their family member."

Sullivan says the Senate and House are in a conference working on a new version of the NDAA. Congress has until year's end to pass it, and he hopes the Creig Sharp funeral honors provision will be on the final version.

“I would say a deadline for all of the families that are going to be served by this is yesterday," Sharp said.

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