Hide the servicemembers

U.S. Rep. Jon Porter of Nevada is a cosponsor of a bill that would make it illegal to invoke the names or images of U.S. servicepeople in “connection with any merchandise, retail product, impersonation, solicitation or commercial activity.”

The legislation, House Resolution 269, is similar to bills already passed by five states intended to stop memorializing of servicepeople who have died in war zones. Examples would include the reading of the names of all people killed in Iraq by Nightline anchor Ted Koppel on April 30, 2004, or the publication of all the thousands of names by the three editions of the News & Review last year. Under the legislation, those commemorations would not be permitted unless the permission of surviving family members were obtained first.

Jolene Morris, widow of Eric Morris of Sparks who was killed in Tal Afar in Iraq in 2005, said she opposes that kind of legislation because it would prevent commemorations of servicepeople.

“I don’t agree with legislation on that one,” she said. “If they’re going to do [a commemoration] like that for all the soldiers, that makes me feel good because it means that people know, acknowledge, see and accept that they [servicepeople] are all in their hearts.”

Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Arizona have passed measures outlawing such products and commemorations. Arizona is the home state of CarryaBigSticker, a producer of bumper stickers, posters and similar items, including T-shirts imprinted with dense text naming servicepeople killed in Iraq. So far, no one has tried to enforce the law against CarryaBigSticker and in July a state legislator apologized for mistakenly voting for the measure. The law was approved by Gov. Janet Napolitano, who is occasionally mentioned as a Democratic vice presidential nominee.