We would like to Honor the memory of these men who lost their lives last month, and Remember them each specifically by name. Please pray for these families as they begin their journey of healing through this unimaginable devastation.
We remember these heroes who gave their lives for freedoms cause and the families they left behind.
Capt. Andrew D. Byers, 30, of Rolesville, NC, died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces. He was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, CO.
Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, PA, died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces. He was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, CO.
Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, KS, died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when their convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. The incident is under investigation. The soldiers were assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, AZ, died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when their convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. The incident is under investigation. The soldiers were assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, KY.
Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, TX, died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when their convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. The incident is under investigation. The soldiers were assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, KY.
Spc. Ronald L. Murray Jr., of Bowie, MD, died Nov. 10, in Kuwait in a non-combat related incident. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. He was assigned to 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, TX.
Sgt. John W. Perry, 30, of Stockton, CA, died Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan. He was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX.
Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt, 20, of Tamaroa, IL, died Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan. He was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, of Woodbridge, VA, died Nov. 24 in northern Syria, of wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. He was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two, which is based in Virginia Beach, VA.
For Immediate Release – October 17, 2015
Remembering America’s Fallen Military
National Partnership increases recognition for Families of our Military Fallen Heroes
Chesapeake, Virginia –
The Honor and Remember organization is partnering with the Michael G. Reagan Portrait Foundation to provide a free custom portrait of Fallen Heroes from internationally acclaimed artist Michael Reagan to each qualifying family. The Michael G. Reagan Portrait Foundation provides one free portrait to those families who have lost a loved one due to the war on terror while Honor and Remember presents unique personalized flags. It is their goal to present these portraits and flags together at specific ceremonies.
“This is a perfect affiliation which will allow us to reach many more Gold Star families with respectful and honorable tributes. We will always be grateful for those who stand up for us and our freedom and will never forget those fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Michael Reagan, President of Michael G. Reagan Portrait Foundation.
Honor and Remember Founder George Lutz said, “Together we are able to bring additional elements of healing to many grieving families and let them know their loved ones are not forgotten.”
Honor and Remember, Inc, through its state chapter network, will partner with the Michael G. Reagan Portrait Foundation to present these hand drawn portraits at specific planned events along with hand sewn personalized flags, wherever possible.
About the Honor and Remember Flag
The Honor and Remember Flag was unveiled at a ceremony on Memorial Day, May 26, 2008. The mission of Honor and Remember is to create, establish and promote a nationally recognized flag that will fly continuously as a visible reminder to all Americans of the lives lost in defense of our national freedoms. The flag is meant to be a public symbol of appreciation that honors all military lives lost while serving since our nation’s inception.
Personalized flags are regularly presented to individual families of fallen service members. Each personalized flag contains the name, theater of operation and date of death of the individual. The flags are presented at both private and public occasions.
Honor and Remember, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information, please visit www.honorandremember.org.
About Michael G. Reagan Portrait Foundation
The mission is to honor the American Fallen Heroes for their ultimate sacrifice during the war against terrorism. The foundation will provide the resources to produce and distribute to each family a hand-drawn portrait of their Fallen Hero, created by artist Michael G. Reagan, free of charge. Each portrait is intended to show their Love and Respect for these Heroes and their families. Michael has to date created and sent to families more than 4,200 portraits of Fallen Heroes. The Michael G. Reagan Portrait Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information, please visit www.fallenheroesproject.org.
We sincerely thank these individuals, companies, corporations and organizations who have joined with us to bring permanent tribute to those families who by the very service and sacrifice of their loved one preserved the freedoms we all enjoy.
Goal one million, current total $61,000
Buddy and Jackie Morrissette, Virginia
Smithfield Foods, Inc., Virginia
In Loving Memory of
SGT Paul H. Protzenko ~ 9 July 2011 ~ Afghanistan
82nd Airborne/ CT Trooper First Class
Forever in our Hearts Mom, Dad, Colette, Traci & Guy
Mr and Mrs Mark Cichorz
Donna Jordan and Leonard Hollabaugh, Virginia
Hank and Diane Middleton, Virginia
COL (ret) Barry Creed, Virginia
IHO SGT Bernard Creed
Robert Smartschan, Virginia
Fahey and Lalani McCann, Virginia
William and Amy Wright II, Virginia
Brad and Terry Henderson, Texas
(Parents of CW2 Miles P. Henderson)
William and Christine Koch, New Jersey
Joseph and Shirley Falk, Virginia
Frontier Communications, Connecticut
Edward & Patricia Brunot, Virginia
Mr. Ted Adornato, Michigan
Mr. Paul Tiller, Virginia
Kathleen Mahoney, Michigan
Challenger Builders, Inc, California
Betsy and Conoly Phillips, Virginia
Annin Flagmakers, Inc, New Jersey
Curtis and Kristie Lee Boggs, Arizona
Lewis and Susie Miller, Texas
Mr. and Mrs. George Mayer, Virginia
The Christian Broadcasting Network, Virginia
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dimock ~ RIP Joey, Illinois
Suzy Kelly ~ CEO, Jo-Kell Inc., Virginia
National Sons of AmVets, Indiana
Mr. R. J. Messinger, Minnesota
Mr. & Mrs. William E. Hansen, Florida
(Proud parents of F3c William R. Hansen ~ 17 May 1987 ~ USS Stark)
Mr. Howard Johnson, Minnesota
Mr. Raymond Trosper, California
Gerald D. Marvin AFCM (AW) RET., Kansas
Ms. Mary Morris, Minnesota
Mr. Kevin Kilbane, Ohio
The Lance Family, Maryland
IHO HM3 James M. Swink
Mr. & Mrs. Kenny Golden
Honor and Remember Connecticut Chapter
Mr. John Cutrell
Joshua W. Harris Brookfield Memorial VFW Post #2868
Sons of the American Legion Squadron 605
American Legion Riders of PA Inc. Chapter PA
Texas House of Representatives, Jose Menendez
Bob Berggern ~ Bob’s Sporting Goods
Harvest Assembly of God – Chesapeake, VA
Fleet Reserve Association Inc – Norfolk, VA
Mr. Michael Del Greco
Bruce and Susie Moore
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Karslake
Mr. and Mrs. John McClain
Congressman and Mrs. Scott Rigell
Ms. Maureen McDonnell
Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fulton
Mr. and Mrs. Milt Akerman
Mrs. Cheryl McLeskey
Mr. Bobby Golden
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smartschan
Mr. and Mrs. Michael McClellan
Mr. and Mrs. John Faulk
American Road Markings
Mr. Jim Weigl
Senator Bill Brown (Oklahoma)
Rep Rick Miller (Texas)
Del Danny Burgess (Florida)
Mr. Tom Seuhs
Mr. Ryan Clay
Mr. Gary Lisota
Delegate Bill DeSteph (Virginia)
Dr. and Mrs. Carlos Campo
Text the word FAMILY to 91999
Besides the many words of appreciation from family members touched by our mission, the most frequent question we receive from those who are on our waiting list is: “When will I receive a personalized Honor and Remember Flag?” This is a heartbreaking question for us to answer because we desire nothing more than to place a personalized flag in their hands within a reasonable time of the request. However, the unfortunate reality is that the presentation of an heirloom quality personalized flag begins with resources, both physical and financial.
It may seem simple, but the steps required to ensure each family is respectfully presented with a flag are many. Research, communication, verification, manufacturing, delivery and presentation are all part of the lengthy process. But without the sponsored funds to cover the expense, we are slowed to a crawl.
If you have followed the Honor and Remember journey, you know we are continuously promoting awareness of the mission on a national scale through media outreach, partnering with like minded organizations, visibility at major sporting events, aligning with veteran’s groups and meeting with corporate representatives. It is always my hope that this effort brings the awareness necessary to build support for a visual reminder across this nation that acknowledges the sacrifice of our fallen and their families.
Although the message is being communicated broadly, there is still tremendous need and we can’t accomplish the goal of delivering a personalized Honor and Remember Flag to every family without your help physically or financially.
While nearly 2000 personalized flags have been presented in the last six years, we currently have a list of over 1200 families who have specifically requested a flag. Reaching all of those who are waiting and the thousands of other families that have not yet requested a flag cannot be accomplished without more help.
The number of requests is increasing daily, and it will take all of us to reach every family from many generations. We have presented to families honoring loved ones whose deaths in service to America date as far back as World War II, Korea and Vietnam. There are nearly 7000 casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone, not to mention those untold numbers that have lost their lives through service-related incidents.
Here’s how you can help. Sponsor a single flag yourself or organize a group from your family, office, church, organization or school that will provide the funds needed to sponsor one or more personalized flags. Individuals or groups who wish to present a personalized flag to a particular Gold Star Family can organize a ceremony and do so.
Giving thanks and appreciation for the sacrifice someone has made for your freedom is an amazing and moving experience. I’ve done it hundreds of times and each one is unique. The Honor and Remember Flag provides a tangible and meaningful tribute that YOU can give that makes a difference in a family’s healing.
Your financial gift, no matter how small or large, can contribute to helping us respond to every request. Some families have been waiting for more than two years. Recently I received this letter from a family who had filled out a request and with their permission I share it unedited with you:
Thank you so much for the wonderful service you are doing in getting the public’s attention in lieu of our service men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives to keep our country free and understanding the price paid for that freedom! I would like to share with you that I am taking care of my widowed elderly Mom after losing her husband to his mind first and then death second. I would have made the request in lieu of her for a flag but felt that it would honor her more for my brother to receive it. He has a huge hole in his soul since the loss of our Dad and has stated that he cherished his father as his best friend more so than any one of his peers and they were very very close! I believe this would further his healing in his own grief process that I don’t think he is coping with very well, but cannot verify this by him, being that he is not very forthcoming with his emotional side. This would bless my Mom more, to see my brother have something to memorialize his father than anything that could be done for her. We, my sister and I, were also very close to our Dad and miss his presence in our lives dearly, but we have been dealing with our grief progressively and have each other to lean on, whereas my brother looked to our Dad for that kind of support. I see that there is a very long wait time and really, there is no hurry considering there are so many soldiers who have sacrificed their lives and have families that miss them just the same, but I felt the need to at least explain the situation with our mother. Thank you again for what you are doing with such a wonderful way to memorialize someone lost to war!” Sincerely and God Bless, Gold Star Sister
I want to thank those who are already out there supporting the mission, including our state chapters, many veterans groups, corporations and individuals who collectively sponsored nearly 400 flags last year. Those who are helping believe that our mission perfectly expresses their gratitude.
I have spoken to many veteran and active duty men and women who have deployed and returned home either safe or scarred but left friends and team members behind on the battlefield. They have each individually searched their own hearts for something to say or do to reach out to the families of their fallen comrades. Over the years, I have watched as personalized flags have expressed that silent emotion of the gratitude that comrades in arms want to express to a Gold Star Family. It’s a silent symbol that speaks louder than thunder.
For example, not long ago a soldier who was severely wounded by a suicide bomber fought for two years to recuperate as the only survivor of four. He struggled internally to think of what he could say to the families of his fallen comrades. After three years of physical and emotional struggle, he finally met the three mothers of his fallen friends together at a special ceremony and gave each a personalized flag as a gift of appreciation to honor the men who died at his side. This is one account of many intensely moving moments.
Whether you are a military veteran, a member of a church, business or organization, or simply a patriot who wants to say thank you, you can help us to make a difference. There are so many reasons why this is the right thing to do and in this short newsletter I cannot adequately articulate the emotional impact this opportunity has opened for the hundreds of those that have already reached out.
Please follow one of the links below and donate a portion or all of a personalized Honor and Remember Flag for a waiting family. This is an ongoing need with tens of thousands of families yet to be reached, but it happens one at a time.
Here are several ways to get involved:
1. A one-time gift. or Text the word FAMILY to 91999
2. A recurring monthly gift.
3. One full sponsorship.
4. Multiple sponsorships.
5. Corporate sponsorship.
6. Volunteer to make a presentation
You may have been watching this organization grow from a distance, advancing in its mission and making incredible strides. The demand for flags is growing larger than we can keep up with. Now is the time to partner with us to touch the lives of specific families and remember their loved ones who have sacrificed all for our freedom. You can make a difference in the success of our mission and all that it means to so many. Search your heart as to the best way you can get involved, but please do something.
Thank you for your continued support and God bless you.
George Lutz, Founder
Gold Star Father
P.S. Any Gold Star Family may be placed on the waiting list by filling out the request form on our site. www.honorandremember.org/the-flag/flag-presentation/
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 email@example.com (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.
Eight years ago, my son Corporal George A. “Tony” Lutz II was patrolling the streets of Fallujah, Iraq, as part of the Psychological Operations 9th Battalion out of Fort Bragg. Tony joined the Army because he felt it was important to get involved and make a difference by serving his country. He had a wife and two children and an extended family that loved and supported him. The sniper who took his life didn’t care about any of that.
In the months that followed Tony’s funeral, I visited other families who had lost loved ones in the Iraq war. I began to sense that I had joined the ranks of a unique fellowship. These families were only the latest additions to a group that originated with the American Revolution, when the first soldiers to shed their blood for our freedom gave their lives.
On May 5, 1868, Memorial Day was officially established by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30. In 1971, Congress designated the last Monday in May as Memorial Day. Over the years, Memorial Day has also become synonymous with the start of the summer vacation season and a three-day weekend devoted to shopping, family gatherings, trips to the beach and fireworks.
While memorial services with wreaths, speeches and bands are typical elements of the Memorial Day weekend, the day designated to honor our fallen seems to have been swallowed by 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 heroes.
Over the years, I have seen entire campaigns dedicated to encouraging Americans to commemorate Memorial Day for just one minute, yet I have also seen entire months dedicated to one specific cause or another. I believe the reason we dedicate an entire month to some causes is the magnitude of the number of lives affected by that cause. That’s why we should do more than set one day a year aside to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed services who have given their lives for America and to recognize the life-changing loss experienced by their families. Memorial Day is an important holiday, but the Gold Star Families (families of the fallen), deserve more recognition than a day that has become for many just an extra day off from work for shopping and having a barbecue.
I am encouraging patriots and Honor and Remember supporters in every state with the help of families, friends and neighbors to take part in a special emphasis for the month of May that we are calling Honor and Remember May (Month). Our campaign theme for the month is “Honor Your Hometown Hero.” The campaign that will call on local media to identify fallen heroes by city and state and publish stories about their military service and their families, who must cope with the loss of their loved one. Another aspect of the month-long observance will invite local businesses, organizations and schools to participate by creating a display of photos and other information about the fallen heroes from their town or neighborhood.
I’d like to see every business, civic groups, media outlet and neighborhood 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. This is a real opportunity for everyone to make a positive statement about the cost of liberty. Ideas for “Honor and Remember May” include:
* Asking businesses to download pictures and a bio of local heroes and posting them in the windows or on the walls of their business;
* Gold Star Families or friends can send stories about their lost loved ones to local media;
* Schools can ask students to write stories and draw pictures about their local hometown heroes.
* Notices can be posted in company newsletters, radio and community bulletin boards,
* Television and radio stations can profile a different hero each day.
* Everyone with a flagpole can fly the Honor and Remember Flag.
* Churches, sports teams, organizations and special events can all honor a hero in many specific ways.
* Arrange to have your local government read into the municipal record the names of the fallen in your area.
* Encourage public service announcements on local cable stations.
* Print out a list of fallen heroes from internet and post their names on social networking pages you may have, encourage friends and families as well
In Virginia, the home of the organization’s headquarters, Honor and Remember Month will include “Virginia Run for the Fallen,” an annual event that will feature a team of 25 active duty military personnel from bases throughout Virginia who will complete a 236-mile journey to honor every Virginia service member who died as a result of serving during the War on Terror. Each mile of the route, which stretches from Fort Story in Virginia Beach to Arlington National Cemetery, will include a brief stop at a “hero marker” to pay individual tribute to family members, friends and comrades of the fallen. Each hero marker tribute will include a biographical description of a hero along with Honor and Remember Flags.
Individuals who wish to organize Honor and Remember May (Month) events and observances in their state should put together a profile of those heroes in their communities who have died as a result of serving in the United States Armed Forces. They can then send that information to their local newspaper, radio and television outlets along with a brief explanation of Honor and Remember Month. Likewise, they can approach local businesses with their information and ask them to create a “Display of Heroes” in support of Honor and Remember Month. Local governments, civic organizations, sports teams and other organizations can also be asked to participate.
Local news media can be asked to put out a call for Gold Star Families to contact them with their stories. Gold Star Families from many generations are all around us,. Local service organizations, such as the VFW and the American Legion, may have information about local families of the fallen. Make sure they know about Honor and Remember Month of May.
This is an important effort to give recognition to families who have given so much to America. Let’s all make a special effort to make the first annual Honor and Remember May (Month) memorable and significant. Join us in creating a tradition that leads us to remember the reason Memorial Day was established and raises the level of awareness for every fallen hero and their families.
The other day I was on the phone with a friend and supporter of Honor and Remember who is a state senator from Oklahoma. We were discussing pending legislation in different areas around the country and specifically a bill that he was bringing forth in his state. The legislation that he was proposing has been passed by several states already, but it is one that he wanted to be sure was established in the state of Oklahoma. Since Oklahoma had already adopted the Honor and Remember Flag as its symbol of remembrance, this new legislation simply read, “Whenever there is a casualty of a military service member from Oklahoma, then the Honor and Remember Flag will be displayed below the U.S. flag at half-staff.” Since similar legislation had been passed previously in other states, I was listening closely and certainly understood its importance. However sometimes I think I’m so close to the message and the mission that its like the expression of not being able to see the forest for the trees.
The senator began to speak about the general protocol for lowering the United States flag to half-staff. The lowering of the flag is a long-standing and honorable part of our flag code that recognizes a tragic loss in our nation or in an individual state. The President of the United States and the governor of each state, following code parameters, can decide for whom the flag will be lowered with instructions. Read the code for more specific details. Although the flag code has rules for flag lowering, they have been used more as guidelines lately; A recent example of this was lowering the flag in memory of singer Whitney Houston in New Jersey. Lately, the U.S. flag has been lowered for a number of different reasons. My point is that the reason the U.S. flag is lowered at any given time often can be a mystery to the general citizenry. How many times have you seen the flags at half-staff and wondered why? We all have that same curiosity.
Last year, Arizona passed HB2020, legislating that the Honor and Remember Flag fly at half-staff under the U.S. flag on all government buildings whenever there is a military casualty in that state. It is a milestone for commemorating the loss and educating the state’s citizens. Why? Because once this becomes a tradition, everyone who passes those flags without a doubt, without exception, will know exactly why they have been lowered: To honor service members who gave their life and to remember those they left behind. There is absolutely no doubt that in this way we call specific attention to the price of freedom. And as we educate this nation about the meaning, purpose, and symbolism of the Honor and Remember Flag, all will be aware and stand in reverent respect.
As supporters of our mission, we can embrace that same protocol. If there is a casualty in your state, please consider flying the Honor and Remember Flag under your U.S. flag when it is at half-staff. If the flags are ordered to fly at half-staff in your state for other reasons, then remove the Honor and Remember Flag and let that reason stand for itself. Additionally, be sure that the Honor and Remember Flag legislation in your state reflects its displaying and lowering with the U.S. flag when at half-staff. If there is no legislation in your state to require this, contact your local representative and see if someone will introduce it. I cannot stress enough the importance of the public’s education, understanding and appreciation of the men and women who have given their lives and continue to give their lives and the thousands of hurting families who are left behind.
I appreciate those that continue to challenge me beyond the obvious, allowing me to see the all-important nuances of what we are trying to achieve. This truly historic mission has implications far beyond my initial expectations. Thank you for your understanding and continued support in the birth of a legacy in which we can all play a part.
As I woke this morning to the flashing banners and hoopla of the morning news on this December day, I realized I was not as jubilant as most seemed to be. Today is 12-12-12 an exciting date of notoriety for many as the next lining up of sequential day, month and year numbers is not for 88 years. Thousands of Americans are lining up everywhere to celebrate whatever they can so that this date can be
We now have 155 co-sponsors on HR546. Pass the word! Click to see if your Rep is on. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-546