Budget stalemate halts honors at veteran’s funerals

Staff Sergeant Louis Miklos Jr in uniform during World War II (Photo courtesy of the Miklos family)

GLASTONBURY & STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut is one of just a handful of states that requires a 21 gun salute at a veteran’s funeral, but the state budget stalemate has even halted that funding, which is only about $50 dollars a day.

George Miklos of Glastonbury lost his 97-year-old dad, Louis “Kip” Miklos over the weekend.  Kip was a lifelong Connecticut resident that proudly served his country during World War II.  He rose to the rank of of Staff Sergeant and helped to liberate the Philippines from Japan, surviving Malaria, yellow fever, and jaundice along the way.

Both Kip and his wife Helen helped the war effort. Helen loaded ammunition at Remington in Bridgeport. They raised a large family of six in Stratford. There are now ten grand children and nine great grand children.

“One of his last wishes was to have a full military funeral,” said his son George on Tuesday.  George and the rest of his family planned a private mass and funeral on Wednesday in Stratford.  They plan to bury their father in his uniform with full ribbons and medals in a private ceremony.

“When we contacted the funeral director, he informed us that we can have the color guard, we can have the flag ceremony, taps but we couldn’t have the 21 gun salute,” add George.  That’s because the General Assembly has not agreed on a state budget that includes the small amount of funding for the rifle salutes at a veteran’s funeral.

“We’re pretty disappointed because we know my Dad was so proud of being a veteran of World War II,” George said.

Governor Malloy had included the funding in his so-called  temporary “mini-budget,” but lawmakers never took it up, now he has no authority to pay for them.

Ed DeGumbia, the State Commander of the American Legion says they’re hearing about this all the time from Connecticut families and says Legion members are trying to fill in this gap,  “We have a number of posts, American Legion Posts, that have stepped up to the plate to take over these honors.”

We’re happy to report that after we started looking into Kip Miklos case we believe that a group of volunteer veterans near the shoreline has been found to give these honors at the funeral for Kip Miklos on Wednesday.

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