Generic soldiers

Photo: AP 

(WAND) - An Illinois lawmaker wants to grant a high national honor to the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. 

State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) created Senate Joint Resolution 50, which would look to grant that person a state funeral and the option to lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol after their death. It urges President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress to allow those steps to be taken.

The president can designate a state funeral, while Congress has the authority to grant a person the privilege of having their remains lie in the rotunda - an honor only 32 people have earned in American history.

Manar said he wants the honor to be a tribute to the "Greatest Generation", which served in the U.S. military from 1939-1945.

“An understanding of the Greatest Generation’s immeasurable sacrifice is something that all Americans share, and it’s something that has the power to unify Americans in a way that transcends our current divisions,” Manar said. “It would block out the political noise of the day and bring us together in reverence of the intrepid Americans who fought and died to ensure that the United States remains a beacon of hope and a blueprint for democracy across the globe.”

Only two of the 353 Americans awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II are alive in November 2019. They include Charles H. Coolidge of Tennessee and Woodrow Williams of West Virginia. 

The State State Government Committee is expected to vote on SJR 50 on Wednesday, Nov. 13. 

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