Monday, April 6, 2009

Governor Signs Bill to Honor Soliders Lost in War on Terror

The State of Oklahoma
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties

April 6, 2009

Contact: Senator Jay Paul Gumm
State Capitol: (405) 521-5586
Durant Office: (580) 924-2221
Mobile: (580) 920-6990
For digital audio, go to and select “News”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Brad Henry has signed Senate Bill 712 into law. Senator Jay Paul Gumm is the principal author the legislation which would require the governor to order flags on state property to be flown at half-staff on the day of the memorial service for Oklahomans who are killed in combat.

In addition, all state agencies, interested organizations, groups and individuals would be authorized and requested to fly the flag at half staff. The director of the Department of Central Services is charged with implementing the new law.

The bill was a request from a young man who served as a Senate Page during Gumm’s first year in the Senate. Army National Guard Sgt. Todd Anderson of Tishomingo emailed Senator Gumm last fall from Iraq and suggested the legislation.

“Oklahomans have always led the nation win it comes to serving the armed services,” Gumm said. “Sgt. Anderson represents the courage and commitment of these young men and women to their country and to one another, and it is been my privilege to be able to help his vision become a reality.”

The new law becomes effective on July 1, 2009. The House author of SB 712 is Representative Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo.

“Our entire community of Tishomingo is proud of Todd, his service to our country, and his desire to honor those Oklahomans who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Roan said. “I hope that every time we see one of our flags at half-staff, we’ll remember the life, service, dedication and patriotism this gesture represents.”

Mary Anderson, of Tishomingo, said she was extremely proud of her son, Todd, who has completed his tour of duty and resumed his studies in science education at the University of Oklahoma. Todd Anderson said he had no idea when he emailed Senator Gumm that his idea was going to wind up in a bill, much less become a law.

“I think it’s absolutely phenomenal that he ran with the idea, submitted it as a bill. I had no clue that this was going on until I heard it had passed the Senate,” Anderson said, who said he thought of the idea while he was in Bagdad and had heard news of the deaths of Oklahoma soldiers. “I was sitting there thinking...what could be done to honor these soldiers in a way that goes beyond the standard memorial service ...the one thing that kept popping into my mind was for flags to be flown at half-staff.”

Senator Gumm said he would invite Sgt. Anderson to attend a ceremonial bill signing for SB 712 later this year. Anderson said he would be happy to attend, and says his experience as a page with Senator Gumm had inspired him, and hoped at some point to become involved in government in some way.

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