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Families of killed service members will get flags

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ALBANY — The flags flown at half-staff at New York’s Capitol in honor of servicemen and women killed in action will be given to the service members’ families under a law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday.

Flags flying at half-staff have long been a tradition at the state Capitol. But until now, the flags haven’t been given to the families as is often done with flags flown in Washington. In Albany, the flags have been retired after their initial use.

The law creates the Lt. Col. Todd Clark Memorial Flag Presentation Program. Flags flown in honor of fallen servicemen and women will presented to their families at no cost. Cuomo said the cost to the state will be minimal.

Clark, of Guilderland, was a 17-year Army veteran who was killed in June in Afghanistan after several combat tours. He had visited the Capitol after he was previously wounded and met with several lawmakers, discussing the Army’s mission.

“New York state commemorates the fallen by lowering flags flown above the State Capitol to half-staff, and by giving these flags to the loved ones of our heroes we will help further honor their memory and courage,” Cuomo said.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Hugh Farley and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.

Cuomo also signed bills to designate veteran memorial highways in Delaware, Saratoga, Genesee, Orleans, Delaware, Sullivan and Livingston counties.

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