Honor and Remember Month of May
Men and women who have died in military service to America are the subject of a designated month of solemn ceremonies, special events and public recognition that encompasses all thirty-one days in May. The theme for America’s Honor and Remember Month of May is Honor Your Hometown Fallen Hero.
While memorial services with wreaths, speeches and bands are typical elements of the Memorial Day weekend, the day designated to honor our fallen has been overshadowed by many commercial and recreational pursuits. For the families who have endured the loss of a loved one to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, Memorial Day can be a hollow observance that seems to be more about cooking hot dogs than commemorating fallen heroes. Families of our nation’s fallen deserve more than the one day that has become for many nothing more than the start of summer or simply a long shopping weekend.
The celebration of America’s Honor and Remember Month seeks to put the emphasis where it belongs with Honor Your Hometown Fallen Hero. Each day in May will place a special emphasis on recognizing all military fallen heroes by encouraging organizations, corporations and the media to focus on these individual heroes from cities and towns across each state. For example, each year Honor and Remember Month in Virginia begins with the annual “Virginia Run for the Fallen,” a four-day, 250-mile tribute run featuring nearly 400 service member participants who will follow a course from Fort Story in Virginia Beach to Arlington National Cemetery.
“We would like to encourage every business, civic group, media outlet and neighborhood to do something special every day of the month to pay tribute to the men and women who gave all in defense of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” said George Lutz, founder of Honor and Remember, Inc. “This is an important opportunity for every citizen to take action and make a positive statement regarding the cost of liberty.” Families, friends and comrades of these service men and women will also be asked to contact their local media outlets and share positive stories about and photos of their fallen loved one in order to encourage the recognition of their sacrifice.
Honor and Remember, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing the Honor and Remember Flag, a tangible national symbol that was specifically created to express visual respect and gratitude for the generations of lives lost in defense of our freedoms and to the families they left behind.
Honor and Remember Month of May
Mission: To enhance the solemn meaning of Memorial Day by calling attention to our military fallen and their families each day of the month of May.
Justification: For the families who have endured the loss of a loved one during military service, Memorial Day can be a hollow observance that has sadly become more about cooking hot dogs than commemorating fallen heroes.
Audience: All patriotic citizens.
Strategy: Create broad national awareness using social media, point of purchase items, hero tributes and flag displays, “flag flashes” and alternative creative outreach strategies.
Who is participating: corporations, civic organizations, media outlets, flag manufacturers, flag sellers, state and city governments, professional sports teams and individuals, celebrities, schools, churches and all other interested Americans.
Honor and Remember Month of May
Campaign Action Sheet
Everyone can do something special each day of the month to pay tribute to the men and women who gave all in defense of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. This is a real opportunity for all grateful citizens to make a positive statement concerning the cost of liberty.
Ideas for “Honor and Remember Month” include:
* State and local Governments can issue proclamations designating May as Honor and Remember Month;
* Businesses can be invited to download pictures and a bio of local heroes and post them in the windows or on the walls of their establishment;
* Families, friends or comrades of these heroes can send stories about their loved ones to local media;
* Schools can ask students to write stories and draw pictures about their hometown heroes for display;
* Notices can be posted in company emails, newsletters and community bulletin boards;
* Television and radio stations can profile a different hero each day;
* Churches, sports teams, organizations and special events can honor a hero in many specific ways;
* Government representatives can read into the municipal record the names of the fallen in their area;
* Individuals can suggest and encourage public service announcements on local radio and cable stations;
* Everyone can print out a list of fallen heroes from the Internet and post their names every day on their social networking channels and encourage their friends and families to share them on their pages;
* Business owners can display the Honor and Remember Flag with a symbolism poster inside their lobby;
* Everyone with a flagpole can fly the Honor and Remember Flag;
*Alternative creative ideas to honor and remember.
When a member of the United States Armed Forces dies in the line of duty, several things happen in a short period of time.
The body is transported to a military facility and prepared for return to the U.S., accompanied by a military escort. A member of a special military unit personally notifies the parents and spouse of the deceased. A military funeral is conducted, at which the family receives the thanks of a grateful nation and the folded American flag that covered the casket.
The family members return to their homes and begin the ordeal of coping with the loss for the rest of their lives. Within months, families begin to realize that those who surrounded them in their grief have returned to their own priorities. This scenario has played out thousands of times among American families since our nation began.
I believe that the most important aspect of this reality is that the lives of those fallen heroes and their sacrifice for our nation must never be forgotten. I know because my son was killed by a bullet in Iraq.
On Memorial Day of 2008 the Honor and Remember Flag was established. It is a visible and public symbol of a grateful nation … a testimony to all who see it that America’s sons, daughters, spouses, brothers and sisters who gave all will be perpetually honored and remembered.
The Honor and Remember Flag is officially recognized by legislation in 19 states. I am asking you to help us make it an even more visible public statement of recognition and gratitude throughout your area and the ENTIRE country.
It could not be easier for you to help. You can join this important initiative simply by flying, displaying or distributing the Honor and Remember Flag. Please seriously consider participating in this important cause. At your convenience, please visit our web store, HonorandRemember.info, and consider displaying the Honor and Remember Flag. You may read our story and explore our mission at HonorandRemember.org. Thank you!
George Lutz ~ Proud Father of CPL George A. Lutz II ~ 29 Dec 2005 ~ Iraq
PS: Join us also in participating in our nationwide initiative Honor and Remember Month of May.
We remember these heroes who gave their lives for freedoms cause and the families they left behind.
Staff Sgt. Girard D. Gass Jr., of Lumber Bridge, NC, died Aug. 3, in Jalalabad Air Field Hospital, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident while on patrol that occurred in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, NC.
Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, 55, of Schenectady, NY, died Aug. 5, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by small arms fire. The incident is under investigation. He was assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command, Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Samuel C. Hairston, 35, of Houston, TX, died Aug. 12, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit was engaged by enemy small-arms fire.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC.
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Leggett, 39, of Ruskin, FL, died Aug. 20, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of injuries received when he was engaged by the enemy. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, NC.
Sgt. Christopher W. Mulalley, 26, of Eureka, CA, died Aug. 22, in Gardez, Afghanistan, as the result of a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX.
Have you flashed your flag? That’s what we’re asking individuals and groups across our nation to do as we launch a new initiative in keeping with our goal to raise awareness, publicly recognizing our military fallen heroes and their families.
This is your chance to join with thousands of other Americans and do something unique, creating a positive statement of support by displaying the flag in an “Honor and Remember Video Flag Flash.”
Here’s how it works:
If you are one of the nearly two thousand families who have received a personalized flag, a supporter who has one proudly flying or someone who is about ready to get one, please consider doing a “flag flash.”
Using your smart phone or a camera with video capability, record a brief (approximately five seconds) video of you or a group holding an Honor and Remember Flag (of any size) and including the words, “I (or we) honor and remember.”
If you have a personalized Honor and Remember Flag, you and your family members can hold up that flag and say something like,”We are the family of (name of fallen loved one) and we honor and remember.” Please briefly say whatever you feel is appropriate and respectful, and use whatever background fits your context, such as your home, school, veteran’s organization, workplace, a memorial and so forth.
Here are some additional sample phrases that we might hear in an Honor and Remember Video Flag Flash:
“We are members of (American Legion Post 280 in Chesapeake, Virginia), and we honor and remember.”
“I’m mayor (name and city) and I honor and remember.” (or the governor, congressman, senator, etc.)
“I serve in the (U.S. Navy) and I honor and remember.” (or Army, Marines, etc.)
“I honor and remember the sacrifice of my hero, (Capt. John Smith).” (or friend, father, cousin, etc.)
“I am an American patriot and I honor and remember.”
“Im a (Navy, Army, Marine, etc.) veteran and I honor and remember.”
“We are the (class of 2014 Mountain View School in Boulder, Colorado), and we honor and remember.”
“We are the (82nd Airborne from Ft Bragg), and we honor and remember.”
You get the idea. Use your imagination. Let’s create a Flag Flash!
We would like your Flag Flashes to be as professional as possible. Here are some useful techniques to create a good-looking image. Use your smart phone. That’s the easiest and quickest way to get this done.
Need a little help? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Hold the camera sideways (horizontal) to get the most into the image.
2. Shoot in a place that has little or no outside noise (no airports, intersections, or train stations).
3. Get a friend to help. It will be hard to hold a phone and a flag and get the proper distance etc.
4. Lighting is important! Unless you have a brightly lit indoor area, do this outside. Be sure the lens is not facing directly into the sun.
5. Try a few different “takes” and use the best one.
6. Help others make Flag Flashes!
All done? Here are some thoughts on what to do with your finished Flag Flash:
1. Email a copy of the video to Honor and Remember at firstname.lastname@example.org (if its not too large). Also post to our Facebook Honor and Remember – Official Page.
2. Post your video to all of your social networking outlets, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #flagflash or #honorandremember.
3. Send your Flag Flash to others, including your local TV/radio news shows. We’d love to attract their attention for the upcoming Honor and Remember Month in May.
If you work at a TV/radio news operation, please consider doing a story on the Honor and Remember Video Flag Flash and invite your audience members to send one to you. Broadcast or share on your social sites.
We will also post and share Flag Flashes on our pages and may eventually string them together for longer tributes. We want Flag Flashes to go “viral” during the month of May, Honor and Remember Month, as a way to say “thank you” for all those individual lives that have been given for freedom’s cause and to express our gratitude to all of the families that gave those heroes to us.
Let’s grab America’s attention with a positive statement of appreciation and remembrance that publicly acknowledges the sacrifice of our military fallen heroes and their families. Join us and create your Honor and Remember Video Flag Flash!
In light of the many upcoming Veteran’s Day tributes, I share with you a brief reflection. Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a Gold Star mother about our sons and the different ways that we as a nation remember our heroes. It was a casual conversation, like many I’ve had with families across the country. But something she said struck a very deep cord. She said the lives of our children are a national treasure. I pondered that for a very long time. A national treasure. What did that mean exactly and how did it apply to our values as Americans? What do you think of when you hear the words “national treasure”?
This notion began to resonate within me. A treasure is something to be sought after, something to be coveted. Its worth is immeasurable… Can that be said about lives past? Absolutely! If you do an Internet search regarding those two words you will find many definitions, ranging from “living icons” to “founding documents.” Most anything or anyone can become a national treasure for a variety of reasons. However, think about all of the freedoms and privileges that we have in this country and then ask yourself who maintains and protects them. Freedom of speech, religion and assembly. The right to bear arms and to participate in free elections. The men and women of our armed forces are the people who put their lives on the line in order to guarantee that we don’t lose those cherished freedoms and rights. And what of the ones who don’t make it home to enjoy them?
From our nation’s inception brave men and women have willingly given their lives selflessly for freedom’s cause, preserving a way of life that we are lucky to have been born into. I think that it is entirely appropriate for all of us who benefit from that sacrifice to treasure those lives. These men and women are probably our country’s greatest treasure, for without them, freedom would not exist. Some may consider buildings, monuments or national parks to be great treasures. However, as Americans we would be unable to explore and enjoy those things without the foundation of freedom paid for with all of the lives lost to protect it. So, I must agree that the lives given for our freedom are truly a national treasure, a treasure we must outwardly acknowledge and indeed preserve, a treasure we must recognize is part of our nation’s existence, a treasure that includes the families that raised and loved these heroes, a treasure that should be placed on the highest pedestal of tribute.
This national treasure of lives given for freedom’s sake may seem like nothing more than a list of names. But each of those names belongs to a face. Some of us may personally know a hero. That person may be our own loved one or a friend or comrade. Many even have memories of a friend or relative from generations past, perhaps as far back as World War I. Those names may trigger a poignant memory. But what about those heroes from long ago who paid the same price for America? Are they any less a part of that treasure? No, this national treasure is an accumulation of thousands of individuals who were born to loving families, married the love of their life and all shared one distinct characteristic– they loved their country and would do anything to preserve it. Should we not collectively recognize and preserve their devotion?
If the lives of our fallen heroes have not already been officially designated as a national treasure it is our obligation to ensure that happens. More importantly we should each find our own way of regularly expressing honor and educating others of the value of these lives to us all.
In the more than 200 years of American history, there has never been a symbol dedicated specifically to the recognition of all military lives lost and to the families they left behind, until now. The Honor and Remember Flag is that public symbol of appreciation, a visible and tangible display of thanks that gives all citizens a way to make a silent statement of perpetual remembrance. I believe that one significant act we can make towards preserving our national treasure is to fly the Honor and Remember Flag. Through the establishment of this symbol, we are able to leave a visual legacy, create a point of discussion for educating everyone and make a national statement of thanks.
Each family in their own way diligently works to preserve their loved one’s memory. When the last person who remembers that loved one’s name passes away, he or she is truly forgotten.
I believe we must instill in our nation this idea of declaring the lives of our military fallen a national treasure. Whether in spirit or through legislation, these heroes represent the highest values of the American spirit. If we proclaim their lives to be precious and continue to call attention to their sacrifice, their contribution to our liberty will never lose its value.
Our mission is much more than encouraging the display of a simple piece of cloth. Rather, the Honor and Remember Flag is a means by which to pay daily tribute to generations of American heroes throughout history, and an important expression of preserving the legacy of our national treasure.
“Let us not mourn that such men died, but rejoice that such men lived”
~George S. Patton~
First written and published October 2013.