American Heroes, Our National Treasure

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~

Blessings,
George

First written and published October 2013.

Reflections on Remembering

Honor and Remember Dispatch – August 2012

You may think the timing on this message is a bit odd, but I have purposely waited to send it for the reason I hope will make sense as you read further.  As we work our way through the remaining month of summer, I can’t help but think about the wonderful times I spent with my family in summers past. For us, summer was a time of swim team, baseball, camping and vacations. My children enjoyed the freedom that came with the summer recess from school. Memorial Day was always an important point on the calendar because it meant the start of summer vacation was not far off, another day off to sleep, another excuse to eat. I believe I was a typical everyday American.

Memorial Day means something quite different to me now. Besides birthdays and anniversaries, it may be the hardest day of the year. When my oldest son Tony was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq on December 29, 2005, he was a young husband and father with his whole life ahead of him. During the months afterward, I searched for the appreciation and recognition of a grateful nation. Sadly, nothing existed than anyone could use to make a positive statement and even Memorial Day was not used as intended. It had simply become another patriotic holiday.  To the Gold Star families of our fallen, every day is Memorial Day, and if that day is not a widely observed time of remembrance, how can the day after or two months later be?

A few years after Tony’s death, I sought to fill that void in America’s consciousness by creating the Honor and Remember Flag and launching an organization in order to provide a way for Americans to consistently pay tribute to our fallen heroes from every generation more than once a year. Each Memorial Day since then I have participated in a ceremony somewhere in America where our military fallen were saluted as a group. However, Memorial Day always leaves me feeling emotionally drained and dissatisfied, because the general focus is never on the fallen, but patriotism overall. Unless I am participating with the military or the veterans, I have never publicly heard one name mentioned of the close to 400 military casualties that have occurred just over the last 12 months, on a day set aside for that very purpose.

Of course, it is important to set aside at least one day to recognize the sacrifice that men and women in our military have made to preserve the freedoms we cherish. But we must take advantage of it. For many Americans, Memorial Day is just a day off from work and school … a day for barbecues and sales at the mall. For families who have not lost a loved one in military service, honoring and remembering the fallen may not happen at all. In fact, one recent survey revealed that 80 percent of those polled didn’t know what Memorial Day is about.

Death is a discomforting subject for most of us to contemplate or talk about. But when there is a knock on your door one day and you learn that you will never see a child, spouse or parent again because he or she has died in service to America, death takes on a new role in your life. It occupies an empty chair at the holiday table. It hovers over family celebrations. It intrudes on your dreams many years after your loved one has been gone. It has a hold on your life every day.

Gold Star Family members are all around us, but for the most part you have no idea who they are. They don’t wear a uniform, an organization hat or a medal. They generally have no connection to the military or associated activities. They go unseen and unnoticed because they are lost in a blend of Americans. Yet they drive by your house or business every day. If they don’t want you to find them, you never will. So how can you thank them, appreciate them or love them for what they have sacrificed? The precious life that has been taken from them cannot be replaced. But those families can receive the open recognition they deserve beyond solemn words spoken on Memorial Day.

A silent message can be spoken and that life can be celebrated with a tangible symbol that reminds us that Americans have fought many battles to preserve our way of life. And those conflicts have cost us much. The Honor and Remember organization and the Honor and Remember Flag were created to pay tribute to the individuals who died and provide a visible “Thank You” to those who must go on without them.

Labor Day is coming up. For most of us, it’s another holiday that means a day off from work, rather than a day to honor the working men and women of our nation. It’s an unfortunate truth that most of our holidays have lost their original meaning for many. Thanksgiving means a big dinner and college football games. Christmas means lots of gifts. And so, Memorial Day will remain for many just a day for cookouts.

But the Honor and Remember Flag and the Honor and Remember mission will always be about giving recognition and thanks to the families of each man and woman who bled and died so that our nation would remain strong … the land of the free because of the brave.

Can we take back Memorial Day? Possibly, However, together we can display silent words of thanks louder than thunder.  Fly the Honor and Remember Flag and join us in this tribute to all our heroes and the Gold Star families that produced them!

Blessings, George

April 2012 – Sponsorship

Sponsorship – We Need Your Help

As Memorial Day 2012 approaches, exciting things are happening with the Honor and Remember campaign. We have made great progress getting the word out about the Honor and Remember Flag, including being prominently featured at a number of NASCAR races around the country. However, this month I want to focus on our core mission and encourage you to think about how you can get involved. As you know, we have three very important goals:

•    To establish the Honor and Remember Flag statewide and nationally as a public symbol of remembrance;
•    To educate the public about the meaning and importance of the flag;
•    To ensure that each Gold Star Family is presented with one personalized flag, regardless of generation, at no cost.

It is this last goal that I want to speak to. One of the most frequent questions I receive from grieving family members is: “When will I receive my personalized Honor and Remember Flag?” This is a heartbreaking question for me to answer because I desire nothing more than to place a personalized flag in their hands immediately. However, the unfortunate reality is that the presentation of an heirloom quality personalized flag begins with funding.

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 standstill and no family should ever pay for their own flag.

If you have followed the Honor and Remember Flag journey, you know I am continuously promoting awareness of our mission on a national scale through national and local media interviews, partnering at sporting events, speaking to veteran’s organizations and meeting with corporate representatives. It is always my hope that this effort brings the awareness necessary to build support. 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 more than 700 personalized flags have been presented in the last four years, we currently have a list of more than 600 families who have specifically requested a flag. Reaching all of those waiting and the thousands of other families that qualify can’t be accomplished without more help.

The number of requests is increasing daily, so 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 6500 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 amazingly 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. Just this week I received this letter from a family who had filled out a request and with their permission I share it unedited with you:

Dear George
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 that collectively presented more than 100 flags last year, veterans organizations in many states that have sponsored dozens of flags for local families and individuals who believe that our mission perfectly expresses their gratitude.

I have spoken to many military 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, spoken louder than thunder, of the gratitude comrades in arms want to express to a Gold Star Family.

For example, not long ago an Army 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 friends. After five years of physical and emotional struggle, he finally met the three mothers of his fallen friends together at a special ceremony and gave each this precious 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 patriotic American, a military veteran or a member of a church, business or organization, 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 impact this opportunity has created for the hundreds of those that have already reached out.
Please follow this link 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 has to start with one.

Here are several ways to get involved:
1. A one-time gift.
2. A recurring monthly gift.
3. One full sponsorship.
4. Multiple sponsorships.
5. Corporate sponsorship.

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 specific lives of 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.

Respectfully,
George Lutz, 
Founder

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/

January 2012 – Thank You!

January 2012 Thank You…

I cannot begin in a short message to adequately touch all of the amazing accomplishments of last year. In 2011 Honor and Remember, with your help, significantly advanced its mission to perpetually recognize the sacrifice of our military fallen heroes and their families.

The year began with my personal visit to all 541 legislative offices on Capitol Hill. It was my unprecedented goal to share the vision of our national remembrance flag to every representative and gain congressional approval. This visit initiated substantial support from over 152 members of congress for the national vision. Although HR546 did not see significant movement during the year, I am much more confident that awareness has grown among our legislative leaders. Please continue to reach out to your representatives for support.We will continue to focus on state-by-state adoptions of the Honor and Remember Flag.

Nine state adoptions of the flag are in place and based on phone calls I have received from many of you, a minimum of fifteen additional states should adopt this year. Thank you to all who continue to champion our cause in their state!

Last year was also the beginning of our inclusion into the CFC Combined Federal Campaign, where we are now able to take our message to military and federal employees. I sincerely thank all of the volunteers who represented Honor and Remember at a variety of benefit fairs in states across the country. We could not have made an impact without your help! Continuing our benevolent goal of presenting personalized flags to every Gold Star Family, over 400 families were honored.

We could not make such significant impact without the dedicated men and women who volunteer to manage each state chapter.  The impact they have on their state and those Gold Star Families is enormous. There are currently eleven official Honor and Remember  chapters; Virginia, North Carolina, Alaska, Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Connecticut and Arizona. It is our national goal to add fifteen additional chapters this year, on our way to fifty. This is a serious commitment and welcome qualified patriots in joining our team. Contact Chapters@honorandremember.org

Personalized flags were presented to Gold Star Families across the U.S. at chapter and key events, including a Louisiana Blue Star mother event, the Maupin, Ohio scholarship event, America Supports You Texas annual weekend, Rolling Thunder Memorial Weekend Banquet, New Jersey Run for the Fallen, the AmVets convention, Arizona Diamondbacks 9/11 and Veteran’s day Presentations and the Navajo reservation presentation to five Vietnam era families.

There are tremendous projects in the works for this year, including plans for many flag presentations and amazing partnerships that will enable us to honor more families than ever before. As 2012 goes into full swing I ask for your continued support for our national effort to change the mindset of this nation. To bring national awareness of and appreciation to the sacrifices of our brave military fallen heroes and their families. The ways to help are simple.

1. Sign the Petition and be sure to encourage your family, friends and coworkers to do the same;
2. Fly the Flag – show your appreciation for our fallen and their families by displaying Honor and Remember as a way to say thank you. Remember to replace faded or worn out flags.
3. Support the Cause – Please consider helping us in our ongoing effort to publicly recognize the sacrifice of our military fallen heroes and their families. Consider a one-time or monthly donation.

Thank you for continuing to support this national symbol of remembrance.  Let’s get this flag flying everywhere!

Blessings,
George

Mini Dispatch January – 2011

Capitol Hill Visits – February – March 2011

I want to thank all of you who have continued to support our effort to establish Honor and Remember as a national symbol of remembrance.  With the conclusion of our 28,000 mile journey across America, I have only just begun the mission ahead.

Now that Honor and Remember Across America has ended, the work of getting the flag adopted by the United States Congress and each state, moves forward. There is much to do in order to make this happen. Your help in encouraging your elected leaders to support the adoption of the flag will be crucial in the months ahead. Also we are still forming state chapters if you have an interest.

First, I hope you will follow up with each or your state legislators to be sure Honor and Remember legislation is being written and introduced. I have reached out to an elected official in every state, so if you need a name please let me know. Contacting your state senator or delegate directly will be a great start. Samples of legislation are on the website or at this link.

Second, during the month of February I will launch phase two of our campaign to establish Honor and Remember as a national symbol. This portion of the journey will entail spending a concentrated amount of time on Capitol Hill, visiting our elected officials from around the country, all 535.

My goal will be to physically meet every representative and senator to ask for his or her support for the Honor and Remember bill. I need your help. Many of you have written or called and expressed an interest in accompanying me when I meet your legislator. I would like to invite you to join me in DC anytime during the month of February and possibly a portion of March.

Regardless of whether you can make it to Washington, I would like you to call ahead and ask your senators and representative to co-sign legislation concerning Honor and Remember and let them know I will be visiting their DC office. Currently bill HR 1034, but will be re-numbered shortly. You can find your elected official here.

When you do make contact, please send me any information regarding whom to follow up with and I will proceed to schedule appointment’s. If you can make it, I can arrange the meetings while you are in town.

When meetings cannot be set ahead of time I will be knocking on doors every day as I go. This is not an area I am familiar with, so I will be learning as I go. Regardless of our approach, I am believing that this year will bring about national adoption of our symbol of remembrance.

This is a mission for us all, and I will not stop until our fallen heroes and their families are publicly recognized. Thank you for continuing to support this campaign of remembrance.

Most importantly we need to continue reaching out to the thousands of families who are awaiting a personalized Honor and Remember Flag. Please consider how you can help financially or by helping us to identify families and sponsors. You can make your contribution online at our secure web site.

The mission continues.

God Bless You!
George

To find all of the details and photos of my 5 month journey visit: http://honorandremember.org/HRAA/

FOX News Interview CNN Special Feature CBN News Report

Honor and Remember goes to Capitol Hill.

Here are other ways you can Help!Please click here to sign the PETITION.
Please click here to order flags and MERCHANDISE.
Please click here to make a DONATION.

Honor and Remember Dispatch – June 2010, Vol 3 Issue 5

  Founder’s Message  – The Journey Continues

Hello from Cleveland, Ohio! Exciting things are happening with the Honor and Remember Across America campaign. This is the first dispatch from the road that I’ve been able to put together, but there will be weekly updates from here until I return home in November.

Where to start! How about with our terrific welcome in Cleveland? I am on my way to the Cleveland Indians baseball stadium for Honor and Remember Night with a motorcycle escort courtesy of Rolling Thunder. This is just one of dozens of special moments that I’ve had in the first 30 days of our national effort to raise awareness about the Honor and Remember Flag.

This update will be a little longer than the ones to follow so that I can catch you up on all of the exciting news so far.

As you may know, Honor and Remember Across America is a five-month journey across the USA that will take us to every state capital. Our goal is to meet with local, state and federal political leaders in order ask for their endorsement for both state and federal recognition of the Honor and Remember Flag. At each stop my hope is to spend time with Gold Star families and share the vision of what we are doing as well as share stories of our loved ones. The most important moments are the presentation to many families with personalized flags.

On June 7, we set out on the first leg of our journey, which took us to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where we were met by the base commander, vice commander and chief of family support. The Dover facility is where our fallen heroes first come when they return to the USA. What an amazing place this is to welcome our heroes home! We had the privilege of presenting flags to the families of LCpl Richard James and SP4 Keith Campbell. Lots of tears of gratitude for the recognition of the sacrifice of these two Americans.

June 8 saw us head out of Delaware’s capital after a successful meeting with state legislators. Our destination: Bel Air, Maryland, where we presented two more flags to Gold Star families. The next day, we visited the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where we had a great tour and fabulous lunch with several Gold Star families.

Next stop: New Jersey. Another flag presentation, this time for a family of a Vietnam War casualty. After leaving Trenton, we headed to New York City, where I appeared on the FOX News Strategy Room broadcast.

June 12 – Onward to Connecticut to attend a fallen heroes memorial celebration with many Gold Star families in attendance, including the widow of a Vietnam soldier.

On June 14, we met with our first governor (other than Bob McDonnell in our home state of Virginia). Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri signed our Pledge of Support, a document we are taking from state to state, asking lawmakers at every level of government to promise their support for recognizing the Honor and Remember Flag at the state and national levels.

June 15 we were in Boston, Massachusetts for a flag presentation  within the halls of the state capital. Many legislators and Gold Star families in attendance.

Augusta, Maine was our next stop for a flag presentation for another Vietnam God Star mother. On June 18, we had a great meeting with Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

June 21. Albany, New York. Met with two New York state senators and had a great interview on ABC Channel 10 News. We visited Syracuse and Rochester, which included a Patriot Guard escort to a Rochester Redwings game, where a special ceremony was held.

June 24 was a travel day to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. All along the way we have had the opportunity to stay with wonderful families and visit great churches. Governor Ed Rendell promised that the HR Flag will be flying in PA. On our way to the Pennsylvania’s Heroes Walk outside Pittsburgh we passed the 3,000-mile mark after 18 days on the road.

Charleston, West Virginia was our next stopover. We met with Governor Joe Manchin III and held a ceremony for several Gold Star families. Then it was on to Cincinnati, Ohio, where we discovered that the Honor and Remember RV needed some brakes. God must have had his hand on us as we cross the mountains in West Virginia.

Today, July 2, we had a great press conference at the Ohio state house in Columbus. Two more flag presentations. On our way to the Cleveland Indians game.

As you can see, it’s been an eventful month.

Monday we head for Traverse City, Michigan, where we will spend a few days before we head out for Indianapolis, Indiana.

Please check the Honor and Remember web site www.honorandremember.org for the Honor and Remember Across America itinerary. There are many expenses on our journey, one of the largest being gas. Please consider helping us financially or providing any other assistance as we come to your hometown. Contact us at the web site and let us know if you would like to be involved with any of the planned events in your state. Thank you for the continued prayers and encouragement.

God Bless
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

Founder’s Message  – The Journey Continues
Hello from Cleveland, Ohio! Exciting things are happening with the Honor and Remember Across America campaign. This is the first dispatch from the road that I’ve been able to put together, but there will be weekly updates from here until I return home in November.

Where to start! How about with our terrific welcome in Cleveland? I am on my way to the Cleveland Indians baseball stadium for Honor and Remember Night with a motorcycle escort courtesy of Rolling Thunder. This is just one of dozens of special moments that I’ve had in the first 30 days of our national effort to raise awareness about the Honor and Remember Flag.

This update will be a little longer than the ones to follow so that I can catch you up on all of the exciting news so far.

As you may know, Honor and Remember Across America is a five-month journey across the USA that will take us to every state capital. Our goal is to meet with local, state and federal political leaders in order ask for their endorsement for both state and federal recognition of the Honor and Remember Flag. At each stop my hope is to spend time with Gold Star families and share the vision of what we are doing as well as share stories of our loved ones. The most important moments are the presentation to many families with personalized flags.

On June 7, we set out on the first leg of our journey, which took us to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where we were met by the base commander, vice commander and chief of family support. The Dover facility is where our fallen heroes first come when they return to the USA. What an amazing place this is to welcome our heroes home! We had the privilege of presenting flags to the families of LCpl Richard James and SP4 Keith Campbell. Lots of tears of gratitude for the recognition of the sacrifice of these two Americans.

June 8 saw us head out of Delaware’s capital after a successful meeting with state legislators. Our destination: Bel Air, Maryland, where we presented two more flags to Gold Star families. The next day, we visited the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where we had a great tour and fabulous lunch with several Gold Star families.

Next stop: New Jersey. Another flag presentation, this time for a family of a Vietnam War casualty. After leaving Trenton, we headed to New York City, where I appeared on the FOX News Strategy Room broadcast.

June 12 – Onward to Connecticut to attend a fallen heroes memorial celebration with many Gold Star families in attendance, including the widow of a Vietnam soldier.

On June 14, we met with our first governor (other than Bob McDonnell in our home state of Virginia). Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri signed our Pledge of Support, a document we are taking from state to state, asking lawmakers at every level of government to promise their support for recognizing the Honor and Remember Flag at the state and national levels.

June 15 we were in Boston, Massachusetts for a flag presentation  within the halls of the state capital. Many legislators and Gold Star families in attendance.

Augusta, Maine was our next stop for a flag presentation for another Vietnam God Star mother. On June 18, we had a great meeting with Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

June 21. Albany, New York. Met with two New York state senators and had a great interview on ABC Channel 10 News. We visited Syracuse and Rochester, which included a Patriot Guard escort to a Rochester Redwings game, where a special ceremony was held.

June 24 was a travel day to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. All along the way we have had the opportunity to stay with wonderful families and visit great churches. Governor Ed Rendell promised that the HR Flag will be flying in PA. On our way to the Pennsylvania’s Heroes Walk outside Pittsburgh we passed the 3,000-mile mark after 18 days on the road.

Charleston, West Virginia was our next stopover. We met with Governor Joe Manchin III and held a ceremony for several Gold Star families. Then it was on to Cincinnati, Ohio, where we discovered that the Honor and Remember RV needed some brakes. God must have had his hand on us as we cross the mountains in West Virginia.

Today, July 2, we had a great press conference at the Ohio state house in Columbus. Two more flag presentations. On our way to the Cleveland Indians game. As you can see, it’s been an eventful month. Monday we head for Traverse City, Michigan, where we will spend a few days before we head out for Indianapolis, Indiana.

Please check the Honor and Remember web site www.honorandremember.org for the Honor and Remember Across America itinerary. There are many expenses on our journey, one of the largest being gas. Please consider helping us financially or providing any other assistance as we come to your hometown. Contact us at the web site and let us know if you would like to be involved with any of the planned events in your state. Thank you for the continued prayers and encouragement.

God Bless
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

Honor and Remember Dispatch – April 2010, Vol 3 Issue 4

  Founder’s Message  – A Moment Worth Sharing

I would like to begin today with an appeal for help. We are less than 40 days from leaving on the trip Across America and still have not met all of our expectations. If you are able to meet us or help arrange for our visit in any way please write to me at contact@honorandremember.org. Thanks to all who are working in their state to make this historic journey successful. We still need specific assistance in the following states: Maine, Vermont, Oregon, North Dakota, West Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee, Montana and Rhode Island.

This past month I shared an experience many Americans most assuredly missed. I had the opportunity to participate in National Observance of Iraqi Liberation Day (NOILD), which was marked by a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery that included officials and military generals from Iraq. Although this hallowed occasion was very meaningful to me, what impacted me the most as a Gold Star father whose son was killed in Iraq was what was said.

I was able to hear words that were not broadcast that day on the evening news … words that the American public will never hear … words of thankfulness. You see, we are making a difference in Iraq and the appreciation expressed by the Iraqi dignitaries that day was heartfelt.  One by one the Iraqi officials stood at the podium, looked into the crowd and spoke words I didn’t realize I needed to hear: “Thank you.”

The lives of our American sons and daughters, husbands and wives sacrificed to achieve Iraq’s liberation have made a difference for that nation that is still hard to fully comprehend. In addition to freeing Iraq from the grip of a ruthless dictator, paving the way for self-governance and providing guidance for Iraq’s own security forces, our armed forces have played a major role in building hospitals, schools and other facilities.

Here is a personal note sent to us after this solemn April event: 
”GEN Abadi, Vice Chief of Staff, Iraqi Joint Forces, wants me to convey his personal felicitations to you, the parents, and to convey the sentiment, as he did at Arlington National Cemetery, that CPL Lutz rests assured to be on our minds often and in our prayers always. The general said, ‘The images of our reunion, in the midst of our martyrs, Iraqi and American, on America’s hallowed ground, Arlington National Cemetery, will stay with me forever. They are America’s best, they are your sons and daughters, and while we have returned their remains to American soil, their souls shall live on in the hearts of Iraqis, in Eternity. For now, by what they have done for Iraqi Freedom, they have become our sons and daughters as well.'”

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM. THANK YOU. Powerful words. I firmly believe that our military involvement in Iraq was not in vain. Our blood and treasure were not wasted. Our loved ones went over there to make a difference. They were on a mission they believed in and even though we may not be able to say right now mission accomplished 100 percent, they all fought and many died for the noblest of causes: freedom.

As we move forward with building national awareness for the Honor and Remember Flag, let’s not forget that Americans are not the only people who should be thankful for generations of the USA’s military fallen heroes. Just as they gave their lives to preserve our freedoms, they also died so that people in many foreign lands could live free from tyranny. And for that, they deserve the thanks of free people everywhere.

God Bless
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

  Our Hero’s Story – Byron Bird, Jr

(Selected verses from two poems, “A Father’s Memory of His Son” and “High in the Mountains”)

Twenty-nine years ago, I was wild as anyone could be;
I met a wonderful woman and asked her to marry me.
All our friends and family were at the wedding, they wished their very best;
A new and special love I found; this woman’s patience I would sometimes test.

Nine months after the vows, there came into this world a bundle of joy.
It was a glorious day, she had given birth to a beautiful brown-eyed boy.
He was full of spirit and difficult at times; He was a lot of fun.
One of my greatest treasures: I loved him dearly, for he was my first son.

I watched him grow and he developed into a young man so wild and free.
He was like no other, one of God’s greatest gifts, we called him Jeremy.
Growing tall and lean with a desire to be with the best;
The way he played football and wrestled, he stood out among the rest.

Graduation day came early for him in the year of ninety-one,
On the honor roll four years for being the best that he was among.
Most valuable football player and wrestler, he wouldn’t settle for anything less.
After graduation, he gave up his Blazer and friends, then joined the Army to be with the best.

I asked him not to go; he said with firmness in his voice that he must do this for himself.
He was always G.I. Joe as a kid; his personal life would be put on the shelf.
Training was hard with many difficulties; running and marching, never time to sit.
He would become an Airborne Ranger, by their creed they were never allowed to quit.

I came home on the fateful day after work; I was tired and all worn out.
In drove the chief of police, a priest and a sergeant; I wondered what this was about.
His mother was the first to greet them, then turned to me with tears in her eyes;
For Jeremy had made the ultimate sacrifice and they told us how he died.

It was in a helicopter crash over the Great Salt Lake; it went down in a fiery flame.
He had volunteered for this mission, letting no one else take it, for he wouldn’t be ashamed.
Sergeants, officers, enlisted men; the best of the best were together that fateful day;
All the rest of his Ranger buddies were on shore, but all they could do was pray.

There was such beauty at the cemetery, a blanket of white snow; the Rangers were standing so proud.
With prayers and farewells, a twenty-one-gun salute, then taps that touched the hearts in the crowd.
His mother laid a yellow rose on the casket, as an eerie gust of wind came down;
As the rose blew off, a Ranger out of nowhere caught it before it touched the ground.

I believe that gust of wind was taking his soul back to heaven, where he came from
Jeremy was only here for a short while; God’s gift to me, my beloved son.
Two weeks after he had gone, I had a vision. It was Jeremy and he said to me,
“Get on with your life, I am at peace; you’ve grieved enough, just let it be.”

As the days go by and time passes, his spirit keeps me moving on.
I will think of him often and the memory of where he is in the great beyond.
Someday this old cowboy will ride that horse alone to that mountaintop up high.
It will be a lonely ride, but it will be worth it to see my son, that Ranger in the sky!  …………His Dad

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.  Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Laura Olisewski 

It was one of those picture perfect days. You know the kind: sunny, an occasional white cloud in a deep, blue sky. It was about 70 degrees and there was a gentle, warm breeze – just perfect. I was in our backyard, picking blueberries from the more than 30 bushes we had when the chimes at the church at the end of our street started to play “America the Beautiful.” I laughed because it was just too perfect – almost unreal.

Then I started to think about how truly blessed I am that I have the freedom to have all of these wonderful things in my life. The one thought that stuck in my mind was “freedom.” I thought about all the soldiers, sailors and veterans that have fought for my freedom throughout the years, even years before I was born. It reminded me that I owe so much to them for what they have given me.

That is why I am such a strong supporter of the Honor and Remember campaign. The very least that I can do is to show the families of the fallen that I respectfully honor and remember what their hero gave for me. The Honor and Remember Flag helps me to do that, without needing to say a word, because it isn’t always easy to find the words that truly express the feelings associated with such a tough situation.

My husband and I are honored to be VIP escorts at Rolling Thunder in Washington, D.C. We have Gold Star family members on the back seats of our motorcycles as we ride them through the streets of Washington, D.C. during the event. While doing this not long ago, we were honored to meet the Morel family. They lost their Marine son, Capt. Brent Morel, (a Navy Cross recipient for extraordinary heroism), on April 7, 2004 in Iraq. Coincidentally, my husband was serving in Iraq at the same time. We have now become close with the Morels.

When Adam and I got married this past August, we knew that it was because of the work that American soldiers and sailors like Capt. Morel that we were able to have the freedom to celebrate our wedding as we did. So we included a story about Capt. Morel and the Morel family in our wedding program. We also went on to explain about our Honor and Remember Flag that we had flying at the outdoor wedding and why we were flying it. Our friend Neil Cotter, who is also friends with the Morels, surprised us by showing up with Capt. Brent Morel’s personalized Honor and Remember Flag, which had been shipped overnight by Molly Morel. So we were able to honor him in name at our wedding. It was truly a special day, but it was made all the more significant and memorable because we were able to show our guests how much we appreciate, recognize, honor and remember our fallen by flying the flag.

A friend of mine, Christine, a Gold Star Mom, once said that her greatest fear is that people will forget her son, Cpl. Steven Koch. That really stuck with me. Those words strengthened my resolve to make sure that Gold Star families know that I recognize their sacrifice and remember their hero every day … and without a word.
Proud wife of Adam, an OIF 2004-2005 veteran!

  News and Upcoming Events

With so much momentum in place and more progress ahead, we must focus on broadening awareness. That is why we will soon be taking the message to every state and launching “Honor and Remember Across America.”  Click here for trip info.

The trip will focus on taking the Honor and Remember message to 50 states with the hope that each state legislature will join Virginia’s in officially adopting the flag. We will be giving presentations at various venues where we have been invited to speak, including houses of worship, veterans groups and community organizations. And most importantly, we will look forward to meeting many Gold Star families around the U.S. Our goals are to spread the word about the Honor and Remember Flag everywhere possible, to see the flag flying across America and to touch the lives of many families who have lost so much.

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

I want to thank Kate McLaughin and this organization for Honoring me with this flag. I lost my son Spc Mathew Taylor 09-26-07. I appreciate everything that you all are doing and to all our soldiers for protecting our USA. Thank you also to all the soldiers like my son that gave their lives so that we all can be free!!! God Bless us all!!! Cameron Park, CA

“THANK YOU” For way too long this nation’s fallen have been reserved a place in the back of the bus, forgotten. Such has it been for our older warriors. In recent years, some of this still continues, yet there are still good, strong, honorable citizens that have stepped forward to hold our banner high and declare to all that they have what it takes to stand against the darkness. Many have fallen and this flag now honors them in a way that has never been done before. For this I say “THANK YOU”. To all my brothers and sisters in uniform… Montrose, CO

I am with you. I am a retired navy man and will be proudly flying this right along side my POW/MIA flag from my front porch. Shingletown, CA

I think this is a great idea! My husband has been to Iraq and Afghanistan and believe this is a wonderful way to honor him and those who came back safely, but most importantly for those who will never come back. I think about them every day and hope that they know how grateful we all are!! Knoxville, IL

This is for my Son Cpl Tim Roos KIA July 27 06 and all of the others that lost there lives for are freedom . Thank you so much for honoring us. Cincinnati, OH

Our son, Cpl Michael J. Anaya was KIA 04/12/2009 on Easter Sunday morning. We are still struggling with our loss and yet are so proud of him! God Bless you for this effort – it is comforting to know that the Fallen Warriors are not forgotten. Crestview, FL

This is an awesome movement honoring those who are so easily forgotten or just counted as mere statistics of war. I serve in the Navy and have seen many friends go to Iraq and Afghanistan during this war. Do whatever it takes to get this flag in the air! God will honor this, I truly believe that! Newport News, VA

Honor and Remember Dispatch – March 2010, Vol 3 Issue 3

Dear Supporters
With so much momentum in place and more progress ahead, we must focus on broadening awareness.
That is why we will soon be taking the message to every state and launching “Honor and Remember Across America.”

The trip will focus on taking the Honor and Remember message to 49 states with the hope
that each state legislature will join Virginia’s in officially adopting this symbol of remembrance.
We will be giving presentations at various venues where we have been invited to speak,
including houses of worship, veterans groups and community organizations.
And most importantly, we will look forward to meeting many Gold Star families around the U.S.
Our goals are to spread the word about the Honor and Remember Flag
everywhere possible, to see the flag flying across America and to touch the lives of many families who have lost so much.
This unprecedented journey can only be successful as a team effort
If you are able to help in any way please view our itinerary and contact us. Thank you so very much for your continued support.

Blessings,
George

Honor and Remember Dispatch – February 2010, Vol 3 Issue 2

  Founder’s Message  – The Journey Continues

I have delayed publishing this edition of the Dispatch to report some exciting news! Last week the Virginia Senate Rules committee unanimously voted to adopt the Honor and Remember Flag (HJR137) as an official state symbol recognizing its fallen military. The next stop for the bill is the Senate floor. The bill’s progress is a significant and historic moment as Virginia has made the statement that these brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families deserve a perpetual tangible emblem of thanks.

This is a major step in our campaign and we know that this vote sends a challenge to every state governor and legislature to adopt similar bills. Eventually, news of the actions taken by state legislatures will reach Washington and HR134 will become a reality.

To educate each state on the importance of this mission, I once again share with you what is ahead and ask for your help.

With so much momentum in place and more progress ahead, we must focus on broadening awareness. That is why we will soon be taking the message to every state and launching “Honor and Remember Across America” which I mentioned last month.

The trip will focus on taking the Honor and Remember message to 49 states with the hope that each state legislature will join Virginia’s in officially adopting the flag. We will be giving presentations at various venues where we have been invited to speak, including houses of worship, veterans groups and community organizations. And most importantly, we will look forward to meeting many Gold Star families around the U.S. Our goals are to spread the word about the Honor and Remember Flag everywhere possible, to see the flag flying across America and to touch the lives of many families who have lost so much.

Our plan is to leave Virginia the first week of June and spend 23 weeks traveling a route from one state capital to another, heading north to Maine, then west across the upper half of the United States, reaching Sacramento by early September. Then we will head south through California and then east across the lower half of the U.S., arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2010 — A total of 22,000 miles round-trip.

I need your help to successfully accomplish this entire mission. I have posted a preliminary itinerary online (Click Here)
www.honorandremember.org/trip.php
and would ask that you look over the dates and places I am planning to visit. This cannot be achieved without significant resources, coordination and support. Please consider helping us in this effort, individually or corporately. Here are our areas of need.

Host us in your city and:

Help to secure appointments with state and local officials;
Join me at your state capital;
Arrange meetings with veterans groups or local organizations;
Help initiate and plan personalized flag presentations;
Provide opportunities to share in your place of worship or at community meetings
Join me on a portion of the road trip.

Our physical needs include:

Use of a Class A recreational vehicle;
Cost of gas, tolls, maintenance, insurance, etc.;
Food;
Lodging;
Flag sponsorship – personalized and state flags;
Airline tickets;
Volunteer staff & Drivers.

If you can help in any way possible or if you have suggestions for areas I have left out, please write to me at contact@honorandremember.org
Thank you for the continued support.

God Bless,
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

Flag being flown by 732d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Detachment 2, The Reapers.  On 17 Feb 10 in Baghdad, Iraq this squad, Reaper 1-2, took this photo in honor of the 5 Fallen Air Force Security Forces members who gave their lives while deployed with the 732 ESFS over the last 3 years.

  Our Hero’s Story – by Melanie Smith

He always had this ornery smile with a gleam in his eyes, a look of loving life and all the excitement life had to give. Lance loved his family, friends and country.  His smile told so much about him.

As his mother I remember that five of Lance’s birthday cakes when he was young had military themes.  Lance, his brothers, Matt and Phillip, and his cousins were obsessed with playing with toy guns, airplanes and fighting the “bad guys.”  They always wanted to be the good guys.  It was no surprise to his friends or family, when Lance signed up a year early for the U.S. Marine Corps during his junior year at Eastbrook High School.  Lance and his cousin, Casey Stanley, always spoke of joining the Marines and fighting the “real” bad guys together.  Lance and Casey followed Lance’s older brother Phillip, who had joined the Marine Corps in 2000.

Dedicated and determined to get started, Lance enlisted with two fellow Eastbrook graduates. They left for boot camp in September, 2001. Lance was stationed with the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines as a field radio communications operator at Camp Pendleton, California.

At one point during Lance’s time in Iraq, he found himself sitting in Saddam Hussein’s abandoned hot tub. Another time, he saw the bodies of a young mother clutching her small child in a mass grave.  Lance’s first seven-month tour began with the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  He left for his second tour in Iraq on September 1, 2004.  Lance was the radio communications operator for his unit’s captain.

During his last call home he stated that his unit had been going out three to four times a day to look for the bad guys.  In one of Lance’s last comments to his family that day, he stated, “I’m here so everyone there can be safe at home.  So they can sleep safe at night.  I don’t want this coming home.”  Lance felt he was there so that all people (no matter where they lived) could have the freedom to do what they wanted to do, say the things they wanted to say and be who they wanted to be.  Lance told his family “Freedom isn’t free, and we have a price to pay for it.” Lance was always “Gung Ho” about his beliefs, so much so that he wore the “Gung Ho” symbol tattooed on his left wrist.

Marine Cpl. Lance McGregor Thompson was killed by a suicide vehicle bearing an improvised explosive device detonated next to his vehicle during convoy operations on November 15, 2004. Today I am a proud American Gold Star Mother. Lance loved to fish and he loved to make those around him laugh. He hoped to go to college when he completed his commitment with the Marine Corps and was considering a career in the electrical engineering field.  Our family has set up a school scholarship to continue his dream for other students who attend his high school.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.  Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Kathy Moore

I am not exactly sure how or when I found out about Honor and Remember.  Since my son, CPL Ryan Russell, was killed March 5, 2007 in Iraq along with two other soldiers, SPC Blake Harris, and PVT Barry W. Mayo, I have received many emails with links to different organizations that give support to military families.

In the days and weeks following Ryan’s death, we received quilts, books, coins and many other items from people who wanted us to know that they where thankful Ryan choose to serve his country.  After awhile, it seemed as though we where the only ones that remembered Ryan.

Then I received an email with the link to Honor and Remember and I was really impressed. This was an organization that wanted to honor those who had given the ultimate sacrifice for this country and their families.  The more I read about the design of the Honor and Remember Flag and the vision of George Lutz the founder the more that I wanted to be a part of the mission to make this flag a national symbol.

Even though I was a child during the Vietnam War, I can remember the disrespect that our veterans received when then came home. I wanted to be a part of not only giving honor to all of our nation’s fallen military but letting the families of these service members know that as a nation we have not forgotten them and will not forget them.

I think that it would be wonderful for current and future generations to have a symbol that honors all of our nation’s fallen military.  For that reason, I decided to become involved. I am the North Carolina state chapter director of  Honor and Remember.

I look forward to working with George and seeing the vision become a reality.

Kathy Moore
Gold Star Mother of CPL Ryan Russell

News and Upcoming Events

The 2010 calendar is now filling with ceremonies, trade shows, festivals and presentations. If you would like to consider Honor and Remember in your planning for the year please contact us at events@honorandremember.org

As part of the campaign, this summer we are planning a national awareness bus tour and would be privileged to include your event in our schedule if possible. We are planning personalized flags presentations in every state possible. Please write soon so that we can coordinate schedules.

If you know of any company or individual who would be willing to become a trip sponsor, donate the use of an RV, tour bus and/or the painting of a graphic wrap, let us know. Its time to bring this mission to the people. Thank you!

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

This flag is such an honor to all that have served proudly. I’m hoping that this becomes every state’s goal. It is comparatively small in comparison to those who have given everything. I’m proud to say that I served, and even more proud to support those who can’t speak of their ultimate service. (Soldotna, AK)

Thank you for giving those of us who are grateful a chance to show just how, by flying this flag! My husband returned healthy and whole from Iraq, April 12, 2005, and I thank God every day. My heart breaks for those whose loved ones did not return….. those brave soldiers who died or those who were injured. Blessings to all involved in this endeavor. (Sarver, PA)

This is a WONDERFUL TRIBUTE! I urge everyone to participate in supporting this effort to Honor Our Fallen who have given their lives for all of us. (Blaine, MN)

Thank God for this tribute. This is something that every American should be thrilled to support.
(Lillington, NC)

God Bless all our veterans, past and present, survivors, KIAs, POWs, MIAs, KLODs, Disabled Veterans and the Patriotic People who Support and Promote this Organization, Amen. (Springfield, OR

Honor and Remember Dispatch – January 2010, Vol 3 Issue 1

  Founder’s Message  – Historic Year Ahead

I start this month’s message a bit late due to several positive events in January that I wanted to share. One was the national endorsement of political strategist Dick Morris, who encouraged his newsletter readers to support Honor and Remember. The response on our web site from this has been overwhelming and we thank him for sharing our mission with his audience. The second newsworthy occurrence was a bold move by the Virginia House of Delegates, which voted to adopt the Honor and Remember Flag as an official state symbol recognizing the commonwealth’s fallen heroes. Delegate John Cosgrove passionately introduced HJR137 and it passed with a vote of 97-0.

In the next few weeks, the Virginia Senate will vote on the bill and we pray it will be accepted with equal enthusiasm. If it is, Virginia will become the first state to officially adopt the flag. I believe the historic significance of state adoption not only merits national media attention but also deserves to be shared with every other state in our land.

It is for that reason we are planning “Honor and Remember Across America,” a five-month, 17,000-mile cross-country trip, in the spirit of Kevin Baker (click to read his story) to all 50 states. Our journey will take us to state capitals, churches, veterans groups and community events. We expect to visit with governors, members of Congress, mayors and the great people who make up this country.

The trip will focus on taking the Honor and Remember message to every state with the hope that each state legislature will join Virginia’s lead in officially adopting the flag. We will be giving presentations at various venues where we have been invited to speak, including churches, veterans groups and community organizations. And most importantly, we will look forward to meeting many Gold Star families as we make personalized flag presentations around the U.S. Our goal is to spread the word about the Honor and Remember Flag everywhere possible, to see the flag flying across America and to touch the lives of many families who have lost so much.

Our plan is to leave Virginia just after Memorial Day and spend 23 weeks traveling a route from one state capital to another, heading north then moving west crossing the upper half of the United States, reaching Sacramento by late August. Then we will head south through California and east across the lower half of the U.S., arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, November 11, 2010.

The planning and execution of this enormous undertaking will require financial and other resources. To make this a successful reality we need your help. Perhaps you can assist in arranging a meeting with your state’s governor and legislators or help arrange a meeting with your local veterans groups and community organizations. On Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, as available, we would like to have an opportunity to speak in your church or place of worship.

Our physical needs include the use of an RV (recreational vehicle) with which to make the trip. We are budgeting approximately $80,000 for the entire project, although we hope that we will receive donations of gas, food, lodging, airline tickets and incidentals to offset our costs. Of course, financial donations would be welcome as well.

Corporate sponsorships are also available and I welcome the opportunity to share our vision with companies or organizations who would like to be associated with this vision and lend their name and resources to making this mission successful. This will be an amazing journey of national awareness I hope many will join.

If you can help in any way possible or if you have suggestions for our trip, please write to me at contact@honorandremember.org
I will post an itinerary soon on our website. Thanks so much for your continued support,

God Bless
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

PS: Please remember to replace your faded or worn our flags.

  Our Hero’s Story – Sharon Patterson

In the early morning of Saturday, January 15, 2005, I could not sleep. I went downstairs and these words poured out, as did many tears. I didn’t understand why I was writing a poem that morning, but God did. The poem was not completed with the last stanza until January 15, 2007. I would like to share my heart with you, my precious friends, as I approach the five-year mark of my son’s death.

Praise God that I live in a country that’s free.
I did not know how important that is to me,
Until my son went off to war,
To a far off place; my heartstrings tore.

I remember the scene on that dark night.
It’s hard to describe, it was such a sight.
To see each soldier getting ready to leave;
What was in their minds I couldn’t conceive.

I see the bags packed side by side,
Lying on the ground buckled and tied.
Preparing to go, their spirits soared.
Their families were there to kiss them goodbye, Lord.

Each soldier stood brave on that June day.
As I saw them there, I began to pray.
As God is my witness, with Him on our side.
Protect them all Lord, I cried, I cried.

For many long months the war has gone on.
The troops go bravely and fight from dusk to dawn.
They live for each moment and do what they must.
For what keeps them going is “In God They Trust.”

Did I dwell on the thought that my son might not come home?
When I heard from him in a letter or less often by phone?
No, not ever, HE was coming back
With his gun by his side and carrying his pack.

He said to me Friday that they could see the light.
Shining before them, so true and so bright.
“My guys here are marking the days ’til we leave.
We’re coming to see our loved ones, we believe.”

I remember him saying what good things they’ve done.
“We’re moving out after the elections are run.
We’re keeping our wits; we’re watching our backs,
Always aware of all enemy attacks.”

He said, “I have to go now, I love you so.”
I replied back the same and “I miss you too, you know.”
I wanted to touch him, to see his sweet face
He sounded so close, I could feel his embrace.

I didn’t once think that this was the last…
For the time that we talked went by so fast.
His voice I remember, so strong and so true.
I would see him soon is all I knew.

Why God, why? I ask every day.
Why did you take my son away?
He was so young and had so much to give
We really wanted him to live.

To be here to see his child, precious Claire
She has his blue eyes and his color of hair.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.
Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Skip Geisaka 

The year 1968 was a difficult time in our nation’s history. Dr. Martin Luther King and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. Vietnam was on everyone’s mind, with the TET Offensive dealing a deathblow to America’s hopes for victory in an unpopular war. More than 16,500 military personnel lost their lives in 1968, which happened to be the midpoint of the Vietnam War. My Lai had given the world a horrific picture of war and student unrest and protests were becoming more popular.

On a cool fall night and I was sitting on the sand of Virginia Beach with a high school friend who had recently returned from combat. We were talking about life and recent events when he started to open up about an experience that continued to haunt him. He had been on patrol in a clearing when he and the other men in his outfit were ambushed by the enemy. The fight ended quickly but many or his comrades were wounded, including my friend’s squad leader, who was also his best friend while in Vietnam. The squad leaders had been shot in the chest and my friend was holding him as he lay dying.

At this point in the story, my friend broke down and started crying, telling me that with his last words his friend kept asking for his mother. Then, still crying, my friend looked at me with anger and asked does anyone care that his friend died? Other than himself and members of his friend’s family, who would remember his friend’s sacrifice?

With the Honor and Remember Flag flying, we will never forget the price our military heroes have paid so that our Stars and Stripes can fly free and proud. To my friend I say, “I care” and “I will remember.” This is why I am on board with Honor and Remember.

  News and Upcoming Events

The 2010 calendar is now filling with ceremonies, trade shows, festivals and presentations. If you would like to consider Honor and Remember in your planning for the year please contact us at events@honorandremember.org

As part of the campaign, this summer we are planning a national awareness bus tour and would be privileged to include your event in our schedule if possible. We are planning personalized flags presentations in every state possible. Please write soon so that we can coordinate schedules.

If you know of any company or individual who would be willing to become a trip sponsor, donate the use of an RV or tour bus and/or the painting of a graphic wrap, let us know. Its time to bring this mission to the people. Thank you!

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

It is with great pride we fly the Honor and Remember Flag as a tribute to all fallen heros. We shall do all we are able to promote Honor and Remember within out state and every where we travel. Thank you. You are a true PATRIOT. (Colville, WA)

I would like to thank all those involved with Honor and Remember. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t stop and think of all our Heroes, my nephew Sgt. Christopher Simpson being one. I continue to hand out Honor and Remember Cards and fliers where ever I go. I will continue to help as much as I can, slowly but surely your mission will be accomplished. (Ontario, NY)

I have a flag I fly on my Harley, am honored to do so as I am a Viet Nam Vet. (Elida, OH)

I am a Gold Star mom, who lost my son, Michael Patrick Pittman, on June 15, 2007 in Baghdad. Thank you for taking the time to support us and our loved ones. (Rock Island, IL)

Honor and Remember Dispatch – December 2009, Vol 2 Issue 12

  Founder’s Message  – Changing a Mindset

It was just four years ago in November that my son Tony was deployed to his first tour in Iraq. It was his first holiday away from home. Six weeks later, on December 29th, he was gone, the victim of a sniper’s bullet. Now, regardless of the how and why, the holidays will always be beyond difficult.

Throughout last month, while watching television news and listening to talk radio, I was reminded of how appreciative we should be for all that we have. There were dozens of wonderful stories of Thanksgiving memories and reports about families who have loved ones in military service overseas. However, as our nation gives thanks, we must remember that precious lives have been taken to protect the freedom we enjoy. Unfortunately, that message is often forgotten.

I listen intently for someone with a national voice to purposefully add “and let’s also remember those brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom and their familes that have sacrificed so much.” Now, how difficult would that be for our national superstars to remind us all of why we are so blessed?

As we enter the Christmas season, I ask everyone to take time not only to thank our God and our military for the blessings we enjoy as Americans, but also to especially thank the families who will forever have an empty chair at the table.

As a result of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone, more than 5000 families have experienced loss. This year nearly 500 are missing a loved one for the first time.  Over the course of our history, nearly two million families have endured this tragic experience. Regardless of the era of conflict or time of year, we must remember those who bear the burden of immeasurable loss and stand with them in perpetual remembrance.

Since we began this mission, I have insisted that we need to change the mindset of a nation. I am continually reminded of how difficult that is. Granted, it doesn’t feel good to pause and reflect on the lives lost in service to America. It’s painful. Who wants to be thankful for loss and sacrifice? But at this time of year it is especially poignant to remember the sacrifice that Christians believe began with a birth to secure eternal life for all. Other sacrifices have been made to maintain our American ideals.

We turn away from the image of families staring at the empty chair at the holiday table, longing for a different reality – the presence of a son or daughter, husband or wife, brother or sister who will never be part of this or any other family celebration, except in spirit. I heard recently that a military loss affects one out of every fourteen families in our country. Our Gold Star families and friends never forget about that loss, they only accept it. The rest of America should keep that in mind.

So how do we change the mindset of a nation that would rather think about less disturbing things than the loss of a loved one? We should encourage everyone that being respectfully grateful is a positive way to make the uncomfortable comfortable. All Americans should have a mindset that is always conscious of the blood that has been shed so that the rest of us can be free from the evil that plagues so much of the world. We hope to inspire that mindset with a symbol, a simple flag. The Honor and Remember Flag was designed as a way for this country to say thank you when there are no other words.

Allow me to suggest a gift this Christmas for all families of fallen heroes: a simple thank you. In addition to expressing that thanks directly to the family, another way to say thank you is to support the Honor and Remember mission to establish a national symbol of remembrance that perpetually recognizes the sacrifice of those families. Help us to visually make a public statement. Family members, friends and comrades pass your door, your business and your vehicle every day. You may not see them, but they will see the statement you make by displaying an Honor and Remember Flag, wearing a hat or displaying a bumper sticker on your car.

With your continued support, we move passionately forward to change the mindset of a nation.

God bless you,
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag


  Our Hero’s Story – George Lutz

Many people have been asking about our son’s story and since Tony’s birthday is this month, here is a bit about my hero.

George Anthony Lutz II (Tony) was born in Virginia, December 12, 1980. He was our first son and second child in a family that would grow to five. He was a determined boy in many ways, which proved to be an advantage as he passionately pursued both baseball and cross country throughout his early years. Tony had a quick wit and loved to engage people in conversation, making it his mission to insure that those around him were enjoying themselves. In his particular way he was personally engaging and everyone he met instantly liked him. His love for sports eventually took him to Shenandoah University where he excelled as captain of his cross-country team.

Not long after college, he met the love of his life, Tiffany, and they were married in 2002. Tony quickly realized that he had a natural talent for sales because he could be extremely persuasive in most situations. That talent coupled with his athletic ability led him down the path of military service. After exploring the various options presented by the five branches of the military, he realized that the U.S. Army held the most potential, even though his grandfather and great grandfather had been Navy men. He chose the field of psychological operations, which in laymen’s terms means persuasive communications. This fit him perfectly. Training was a challenge that he embraced head on, excelling at every level, especially PT.

On December 29, 2005, while on patrol with the 2/6 marines in Fallujah Iraq, Tony’s life was taken instantly by a sniper’s bullet. Tony was a kind, loving and godly man. He left behind a caring wife and two beautiful children, Anthony and Ava. He was known by many names: son, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew, husband and father.

There are no words to express how deeply he is missed. We know now that God had an eternal plan and that out of his sacrifice and many others, we all continue to live free. God bless this country and all who wear the uniform to protect us every day.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.  Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Kate McLaughlin  

On March 17, 2008, my life was changed forever.  I heard the doorbell ring that every mother dreads when her two sons are serving their country in the military.  My oldest son, Christopher, was deployed for his second tour of duty in Iraq at the time.  On that tragic day, Chris and SSgt Michael Elledge were taken instantly when a roadside bomb struck their convoy on the way back from a mission.

Chris was the type of kid that, upon meeting him, you felt like you had known him forever.   Every time he went home on leave to Syracuse, New York, his friends and family couldn’t get enough of him!  I remember him telling me that vacations were sometimes even more stressful than being at work because he wanted so badly to fit in seeing everyone! As the oldest of 14 grandchildren, he was admired dearly by the kids; the little ones were always by his side and the older ones wanted to grow up to be just like him. Somehow, he always managed to spend time with everyone, and his fiancée, Carol, was always right there by his side.  Their relationship, with its love, friendship, trust, and continuous support, was amazing.  I feel like the luckiest Mom, and Carol will forever be my daughter-in-law… I thank Chris for her always.

I’m so grateful that as he grew up, Chris and I were able to become such good friends, just as he and his brother, Richard, were.   They were only two years apart, and as they got older, they learned to really appreciate each other.  They both joined the military in 2004 because they wanted to give back to this great nation that they were so proud to live in.  Rich is now honorably discharged from the USMC and is continuing to serve his country as a government contractor; he’ll be heading to Afghanistan at the end of the month.  I’m so proud of both of my sons.

Not a day goes by without me thinking of Chris and what he and the rest of our fallen heroes have sacrificed for us.  I miss him dearly and there are days I feel as though I can’t go on; but then I remember the promise that I made to him.  I promised that I could continue to be the Mom that I am and the person that I am and to be there for those he left behind. There will never be a day when I don’t think of him with honor and respect, and I will always appreciate all those who serve.

Chris is the reason I joined Honor and Remember.  Not only will I honor and remember my son, but all of our nation’s fallen heroes.  I had the pleasure of meeting George at the Time of Remembrance ceremony this past September, and we spoke briefly about the Honor and Remember mission.  Since then, I have joined in trying to get the word out about this wonderful flag.  It is a great privilege for me to be a part of this effort, and I feel that it is the mission Chris set me to do.

My life will never go back to what it was prior to March 17, 2008, but I have had to learn to live life in a different way.  I have the wonderful memories that I shared with Chris in the 23 years he was with us.  I cherish the times we spent together, and I live life like Chris would…with adventure!!!  I miss you, Bud… but we will all be together again.  Continue to guide us and watch over us; give us the strength to get through the days.  Forever in my heart… “Home of the Free Because of the Brave”   … with love, honor, respect, and pride.

  News and Upcoming Events

The 2010 calendar is now filling with ceremonies, trade shows, festivals and presentations. If you would like to consider Honor and Remember in your planning for the year please contact us at events@honorandremember.org

As part of the campaign, this summer we are planning a national awareness bus tour and would be privileged to include your event in our schedule if possible. We are planning personalized flags presentations in every state possible. Please write soon so that we can coordinate schedules.

If you know of any company or individual who would be willing to become a trip sponsor, donate the use of a tour bus and/or the painting of a graphic wrap, let us know. Its time to bring this mission to the people. Thank you!

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

Just heard about your site on FOX, what a wonderful way to honor those who have fallen while serving our country. God Bless from a grateful Gold Star Mother. (Wilmington, MA)

God bless you TOM VALENTINE! The Honor and Remember flag is flying in our backyard in honor of you! (Herndon, VA)

Thanks for your site, we recently lost our brother- in-law, Kenneth Westbrook, thank you for honoring and remembering him and all our fallen heroes. I saw your signs on the Today Show, and wanted to check out your website and it is very informative. In Memory of Kenneth Westbrook and Virgil R. Case.
(Shiprock, NM)

Heard ya on Dennis Miller Radio Show and just had to come over and check it out. Godspeed brother.
(Springfield, IL)

I just saw this on FOX news and I am so glad that this is being done. Tony was a great friend to me and I visit Arlington every time I am in D.C. Thanks for keeping his spirit and so many others alive. (Delaware, OH)

Honor and Remember Dispatch – November 2009, Vol 2 Issue 11

  Founder’s Message  –  Tribute

Before I address recent events, I want to take this opportunity to speak from the heart about why Honor and Remember exists. As long as America continues to be “one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” there will be a price to pay for that freedom. Unfortunately, that price is the lives of young men and women who stand on the front lines to defend those values, not only for Americans but also for freedom loving people around the world.

There are no words, no accolades, no gifts that will ever alleviate the pain of the loss experienced by the families of the fallen. There will always be a hole that can never be filled in the lives of parents, spouses, children and friends of those who didn’t come home. Yet all of us can do something to show our gratitude for and acknowledge our indebtedness to men and women who have given all for our nation. We can choose to honor and remember them.

This month provided a tragic reminder that not all who die in military service lose their lives on the battlefield. The attack at Ft. Hood is a sobering and powerful reminder that the men and women of our military put themselves in harms way the moment they decide to serve their country. Some die in accidents or other circumstances not directly related to battle. But all should be remembered for their commitment. That’s why Honor and Remember is important.

The Honor and Remember Flag is meant to serve as a tangible reminder to devote even a few moments to reflect with gratitude and respect on the cost of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

Please join me in giving tribute to these 13 men and women from Ft. Hood who gave their lives for each of us. CWO Michael Cahill, Maj. Libardo Eduardo Caraveo, SSgt. Justin DeCrow, Capt. John Gaffaney, SPC Frederick Greene, SPC Jason Hunt, Sgt. Amy Krueger, Pfc. Aaron Nemelka, Pfc. Michael Pearson, Capt. Russell Seager, Pvt. Francheska Velez, Lt Col Juanita Warman, Pfc. Kham Xiong.

Within the last two days, I have received emails from two sources that are willing to donate the funds for personalized Honor and Remember Flags for each of the Ft. Hood families. Naturally, we have not attempted to contact the families to be able to make presentations, but we will work with our contacts to determine the most respectful and appropriate opportunity to do so.  If you are in touch with any of these families or they are in your community please contact me.

My blessings go out to the Gold Star families reading this whose hearts are also breaking, knowing what these new families are experiencing. We can do nothing to change the events that led to this tragedy. But we can commit in our own way to pay tribute to those who died and to their families.

God Bless,
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

  Our Hero’s Story

With all the attention focused on the financial markets recently, the stories that exemplify the greatness of America and its people have gone by the wayside. One such story is far too important to be lost in the frenzy.

Not long ago, in El Paso, Texas, a new A-Star helicopter was dedicated and placed into service. And while that might not seem like a big deal to many of us, it was. This helicopter bore a seal with the name Robert F. Smith and his call sign, X-Ray 8014, inscribed upon it. This seal is to remain assigned to and displayed on this CBP aircraft for the entirety of its service.

This is only the second time in our country’s history such an honor has been bestowed by our government. A special event indeed. It is with a great sense of responsibility that I introduce the man for which this honor was bestowed.

Robert F. Smith Jr. was a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He attended and graduated from Penn State University in 1982. In 1983 he enrolled in the Navy Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, where he was commissioned as an ensign and received his Naval Aviator’s wings in August of that year. He flew fixed wing jets and helicopters with the Navy for the next eight years and even appeared as an extra in one of my all time favorite movies, “Top Gun.”

Following the Gulf war, Bob was discharged from the Navy and became a pilot with the U.S. Customs Service. For the next 16 years he served on special drug interdiction missions in Central and South America, supported airspace security in Washington, D.C. and flew rescue missions in hurricane Katrina. By any account, Bob’s life was about service to a country and a people he loved very much.

On May 22, 2007 (two days before his 47th birthday), Bob was flying a recognizance mission near El Paso, Texas, when he spotted three illegal aliens crossing the border. He radioed the Border Patrol on the ground, and they arrested the three men. At that moment, a stone, bullet or something similar hit the tail of his helicopter and it began spinning out of control.

He was only about 200 feet in the air, so Bob could have set down safely in a yard below, but he saw three small children playing. Bob made an instant “life” decision and somehow got his helicopter high enough to get over the roof of one more building and took it down into a truck parked in a lot. He turned at the last second so that his passenger was above, hanging in his straps. His fellow pilots don’t know how he did it. The passenger survived, but Bob, hitting first, was killed instantly. The mother of those children was watching from her back porch and thought her children were gone.

It is no surprise to those who knew Bob that he would put others safety ahead of his own. His life was about serving a cause greater than himself. Indeed a great personal trait in the world today.

In his speech to the nation on immigration, May 29, 2007, President Bush said:

“Before I say anything about immigration, I want to tell you about an American hero, Robert Smith … Realizing that four people are alive today as a result of one man giving his ultimate sacrifice, The U.S. Customs Service D.H.S., for only the second time in history, has permanently emblazoned Helicopter N852BP with the CBP Memorial Insignia: ROBERT F.SMITH X-RAY 8014. In his honor and memory, AIA Smith’s CBP call sign will remain assigned to him and displayed on a CBP aircraft forevermore.”

On a few rare occasions in my life I have had the distinct honor to meet or talk to the families behind such great men as Robert F. Smith Jr. Each time I realize that the sense of service in heroes is birthed at an early age by moms and dads who love God, love their family and love this great nation.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.  Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Bill Fediw

I have known George and Patricia for almost 20 years. Our kids grew up together. I have always known the Lutzes to be a family that gave and shared what they had. Most of all, they brought meaning to the unit known as family. As a result, when Tony was killed, all I knew to do was to come and grieve with this family and not offer any empty words. There is no possible way I could feel the depth of their loss, and yet, through it all, you could feel a sense off pride in the fact that this young man died doing what he did, so we could live in this great country and be free to do what we do. I think all the Gold Star families may understand what I’m saying.

My parents left everything they had to escape communism, and it is because of this that I know the price of my freedom. For me, the purpose of Honor and Remember is not only to acknowledge and remember the fallen, but also to remind those left behind that freedom isn’t free and that the cost was very dear. Each flag is an opportunity to tell the story again and again, and remind our citizens of the cost of their freedom, and even the abuse of it.

We must help Honor and Remember succeed because your stories are a national treasure. It is for this reason that I would draw your attention to a unique source of support. In these hard economic times it’s challenging enough to meet our own obligations, and as a result, it becomes more difficult to support the causes and organizations we believe in. This creates a ripple effect. To offset this trend I have introduced to the organization, a new and unique, free web portal, Blastoff, that pays you to use it, and as you get blessed the organization gets blessed. My effort is to tell others about it so they can get their own free page. I would encourage everyone to at least explore the link because it is not the same old “dig deeper, brother” platform.  Rather, it puts the supporters first and helps the organization with a minimal of effort.

  News and Upcoming Events

October and November were extremely busy with many personalized flag presentations scheduled throughout both months. Please watch our home page for additional information.

October 21st – FRA National Convention, Virginia Beach, VA. Flag Presentation – Family of Sgt Jayton D. Patterson ~ 15 Jan 2005 ~ Iraq

October 25th – Victory Life Church, Hampton, VA. Flag Presentation – Family of CW2 Ian D. Manuel ~ 8 Jan 2004 ~ Iraq

November 4-5 – New York City trip – The trip was an amazing opportunity to gain national awareness. With a small contingent, we were able to reach the hosts of the Today show, including Al Roker’s mention of our website before the weather. The Bill O’Reilly show was next as we were again mentioned on FOX news and one of our most positive experiences was onboard the USS New York.

November 6 – Cave Spring HS, Roanoke, VA – Flag presentation – Family of SSG Jesse G. Clowers Jr ~ 12 Aug 2007 ~ Afghanistan

November 7 – We presented personalized flags to five families, representing a loss from each branch of the U.S. military. Today we gave tribute to DC3 Nate Bruckenthal ~ 24 April 2004 ~ Iraq, Cpl Joshua S. Harmon ~ 22 Aug 2007 ~ Iraq, Lt Brendan J. Duffy ~ 8 Nov 1998 ~ U.S. Navy, LCpl Kelly E.C. Watters ~ 11 June 2008 ~ Iraq, TSgt William H. Jefferson Jr ~ 21 March 2008 ~ Afghanistan.

November 11 – Regent University veterans program with Honor and Remember Flag dedication.
Flag Presentation to the family of SSG Jonathan K. Dozier ~ 9 Jan 2008 ~ Iraq. This was covered and broadcast by CBN News.

The 2010 calendar is now filling with ceremonies, trade shows, festivals and presentations. If you would like to consider Honor and Remember in your planning for the year, please contact us at events@honorandremember.org

Additionally, this summer we are planning a national awareness bus tour and would be privileged to include your event in our schedule if possible. Please write soon to be considered.

If you know of a company or individual who would be willing to either donate the use of a tour bus and/or the painting of a graphic wrap, let us know. It’s time to bring this mission to the people. Thank you!

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

This is in remembrance of a good friend of my family’s Dennis J. Pratt, who lost his life serving his country, in Afganistan, on July 20, 2009. He was due home the following Monday for 2 weeks of r&r with his family and friends. All of his family and friends miss him dearly….. (Anadarko, Oklahoma)

I lost my brother to the Vietnam War and have been going through a healing process for the last 40 years. I pray for all soldiers. Those now serving, those who have returned and those who (like my brother) have given their lives for our freedom. In memory of Lance Corporal John Weisbrod, USMC 5/13/1969.(Massillon, Ohio)

I also saw the group on the “Today” show this morning and wanted more information on the organization. My family came very close to losing my cousin in Iraq 2 years ago. Fortunately he is doing very well now! Our town has just recently lost one of our members in Afghanistan. He was and is our hero. He and all those who have served this great nation should be honored and remembered. I thank you for your efforts. (North Attleboro, MA)

Just heard about your site on FOX, what a wonderful way to honor those who have fallen while serving our country. God Bless from a grateful Gold Star Mother. (Wilmington, MA)

 

Honor and Remember Dispatch – October 2009, Vol 2 Issue 10

  Founder’s Message  – Thoughtful Reflection

As I write this month’s message, I feel that it is important to recognize that 50 military lives were lost in September. Please scroll down and read the new section below, “Remembering Our Latest Heroes.”

PFC William “Lee” Meridith was killed on September 21, 2009, as the vehicle in which he was riding struck an improvised explosive device (IED), as have too many others. Last week, I attended this soldier’s funeral and met his grieving family. If you have never experienced this moment, it is difficult to describe. If you have never lost a loved one, it is even more difficult to understand. One by one, the mourners stepped up to the podium. I listened as each friend and family member shared encouraging words and their best memories of Lee. I heard amazing stories of a once shy individual, who in his search for answers in his life, walked down a completely different path than most who knew him.

Earlier in the week I had been wrestling with what to write about this month in the Founder’s Message. As I watched each emotional tribute at Lee’s funeral, I began to hear a common theme. Lee was an unselfish man, full of the desire to make something of his life. He enjoyed hard work. Everyone he met loved him. One day he made a decision few others choose. He joined the U.S. Army.

About half way through the memorial service an important revelation came to me.  I vividly recognized at that moment that there are two distinct types of people in our country: people who are fighting for their lives and people who are fighting with their lives. Many of us go through life seeking our own purpose, not thinking very much about the country we live in or how we achieved or maintain our freedom.  We often take for granted all that we have, focusing on our personal needs, such as seeking better jobs, taking care of our families, enjoying the fruits of our labors. In a sense, we fight for all of the fine things this free country affords us. This group, of which most Americans are members, is basically “fighting” every day for their own lives.

And then there is the other group. They are the few, the ones who have taken a different road. It’s a path paved with the price of freedom, traveled by those who embrace the toll it may take to achieve it, chosen by those who know only they stand in the way of freedom’s destruction. It’s a path that places their lives in the hands of others and often ends with a knock on the door.

Who is this group of people? What makes them willing to lay down enjoying their own personal wants in order to preserve our national freedoms? These are our young, healthy, educated seemingly invincible military men and women, who are often in their early twenties, young people who are perfectly able to achieve success in a civilian world. But something else motivates them: serving. They willingly and lovingly decide that if cutting their lives short will advance the cause of freedom, then the price is not too great.

You may have heard the saying, “There have only been two defining forces in the world willing to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. Jesus died for your soul and the American Soldier died for your freedom.”

The men and women currently serving in our military and our veterans deserve our highest respect for fighting with their lives to protect the rest of us as we fight for our lives. That’s what Honor and Remember is all about. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Thank our veterans and those serving today.

God Bless,
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

  Our Hero’s Story – Mary Todd

Our only son, SFC David James Todd, Jr., gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country on August 20, 2008, saving 12 American soldier’s lives. David was a soldier that every man wants to be, a father that every man hopes to be, and a friend who was admired and respected by all those who knew him, a true and honest human being who was always there for you. He was the definition of a true hero, never giving up until the mission was done, and never ever leaving a fellow soldier behind. That was proven in a fierce battle in Bala Morghab, Afghanistan on August 20, 2008, when he helped to save 12 soldiers.

According to a soldier who was saved that day, a group of American soldiers was engaged in a nine-hour battle, when a twelve-man patrol became beleaguered and in dire need of extraction from overwhelming Taliban forces. Sergeant First Class David J. Todd organized a quick reaction force of American soldiers and came to the aid of his men. SFC Todd served as a gunner during the fight and recovered his brothers through a barrage of small arms fire and rocket propelled grenade detonations. He was killed during the extraction of the patrol from the city of Joy-I-Khawaja, just three kilometers south of Bala Murghab. The men of that patrol say they will never forget David, their brother.

Our son was a fine platoon leader, always pushing the guys just a little bit more than they thought they could handle, but he knew their potential. Giving up was not an option in SFC Todd’s platoon. On a lighter note, David’s troops will never forget his love for that darn cup of coffee! Even in the miserably hot, humid temperatures of Fort Polk, Iraq or Afghanistan they would never see him without a cup of java in his hand or on his desk. When K TRP was deployed to Iraq, the request from our son was, “Send more coffee!” That I did: coffee, barbecue sauce, and beef jerky were his favorites.

To David’s fellow soldiers I’d like to say: make SFC Todd proud. Go a little above and beyond, take charge, show a fellow soldier the ropes, just as he did for you. Never forget the sacrifices he and other heroes like him have made for us. We should be thankful to them and their families forever.

Our son’s passing is extremely painful; he was the older of two children. He and his sister, Stephanie Keller, were very close, even though the miles separated them. Their love for each other was constant throughout their lives. People have said that time heals all wounds. I have a different outlook on this; I see that our lives have changed and it will be like this forever. Holidays, birthdays and other special occasions are so painful that it is indescribable.

Rest in peace, my son. One day God will join us together.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.  Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Brenda Ike  

I met George Lutz last year after my son, SSGT Christopher Stine, came back from his second tour in Iraq. George spent a little time chatting with Chris and me, telling us his vision about the Honor and Remember Flag. My heart went out to George after learning about him losing his son Tony in Fallujah, Iraq in December 2005.

Since last year, I have become involved with Honor and Remember and I am now the director of the organization’s first state chapter, which has been established here in Virginia. It is humbling to me to be able to hold this position and to be part of a movement that is spreading across the country. I can’t think of a better way to honor our military than to be on this front line of spreading the word about the Honor and Remember Flag and what it stands for. My husband and I proudly fly the American flag and the Honor and Remember Flag at our home. Each time I see the flag, I am reminded of the vision and the cause behind it.

So many people in this country never give a split second of thought a day to what our military men and woman sacrifice by being in war zones away from family and friends, all in the name of protecting the United States. Unlike George, I cannot begin to know how it feels to have lost a son in the war. I can only pray constantly each day that while my son is back in Fallujah on his third tour right now, that he returns home to the states safe and sound. To hear my son’s voice when he calls me on Skype from over there, or to see his face on his web cam, just lets me know he is okay. As a parent, I cannot begin to tell you the rush of relief that passes over me at that very instant.

I am so impressed with the people who stand behind our military, who thank them as they pass by and who continue to pray for their safety each and every day! I am HONORED to be part of Honor and Remember and will do everything in my power to continue to spread the word! I want to personally take a moment to thank all of the young people who make our freedom possible. We owe this to them!

Brenda Ike
Virginia State Chapter Director

  Remembering Our Recent Heroes

October and November will be extremely busy with many personalized flag presentations scheduled throughout the months. Please watch our home page for additional information.

October 21st – FRA National Convention, Virginia Beach, VA. Flag Presentation- Family of Sgt Jayton D. Patterson ~ 15 Jan 2005 ~ Iraq

October 25th – Victory Life Church, Hampton, VA. Flag Presentation- Family of CW2 Ian D. Manuel ~ 8 Jan 2004 ~ Iraq

November 4-5 – New York City trip – Planning a trip to visit the morning news programs the morning of November 5th. I am asking all Gold Star families and supporters in the area to consider joining us in creating national awareness that week before Veterans Day. Meeting the morning of Thursday, November 5th, 5:30 a.m. in front of Fox and Friends. Please write for more info.

November 6 – Cave Spring HS, Roanoke, VA – Flag presentation, Family of SSG Jesse G. Clowers Jr ~ 12 Aug 2007 ~ Afghanistan

November 7
Everyone is welcome to come Ride & Support our Disabled Veterans
Five personalized Honor and Remember Flags will be presented, one for Gold Star families from each branch of service. Motorcycles and automobiles welcome
Registration 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. (Biker breakfast available)
At Busky’s Chill & Grill in Chesapeake, VA
(Hanbury Village – 237 Hanbury Road East, Suite 32)
Click here for registration form.

November 11 – Regent University veterans program with Honor and Remember Flag dedication.
Flag Presentation to the family of SSG Jonathan K Dozier ~ 9 Jan 2008 ~ Iraq

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

If we can do postage stamps for Presidents, movie stars and cartoons why can’t we have a Flag for Our most deserving and bravest people on earth? Our brave women and men and all our veterans deserve the ut most respect from us. After all they are the ones that keep us safe and free. God bless them all and God bless America! …. (Belmont, OH)

While attending the GOTG 2009 I found out about the Honor and Remember Flag that is trying to get passed by Congress in honor of our fallen veterans. I wrote my Congressman Sam Graves a letter asking him to get on the bandwagon for this and sent him a brochure about the flag. I’m happy to announce that I got a letter from him yesterday (dated 16 Sep. 09) that he is supporting the idea and the bill. So Missouri is on board with the flag!!!! (Missouri)

We just were honored with a memorial service for my uncle Max L. Bailey by the POW-MIA in Rupert. My Uncle was lost in the Korean War at Chosin Reservoir. At this service my mom was given an Honor and Remember Flag. It is beautiful and a great way to honor Max. (Jerome, Idaho)

As a retired Army Sergeant Major I would like to say God bless your work and we will keep up the fight for those that paid the ultimate price for our rights and those of all Americans. (Columbia, Missouri)

Honor and Remember Dispatch – September 2009, Vol 2 Issue 9

  Founder’s Message  – More than Numbers

As I begin September’s message, I want to encourage you to please take a moment to read slowly through the names below. In July, these men and women were part of intact, happy families, on a particular mission, performing a job they all loved.

Pfc3 Anthony C. Garcia – LCpl James D. Argentine – LCpl Travis T. Babine – Cpl Christian A. Guzman Rivera – Sgt Jay M. Hoskins – Captian Matthew C. Freeman – SSgt Tara J. Smith – Spc Matthew K.S. Swanson – Sgt Jerry R. Evans Jr – LCpl Dennis J. Burrow – LCpl Javier Olvera – LCpl Patrick W. Schimmel – Spc Richard A. Walters Kuwait – LCpl Bruce Ferrell – Captain John Tinsley – Sgt William J. Cahir – LCpl Joshua M. Bernard – Cpl Nicholas R. Roush – Sgt 1st Class William B. Woods Jr – LCpl Leopold F. Damas – Gunnery Sgt Adam F. Benjamin – Spc William Z. Van Osdol – Spc
Matthew D. Hastings – Spc Paul E. Dumont Jr – SSgt Clayton P. Bowen – PFC Morris L. Walker – 1st Sgt Jose S.N. Crisostomo – Pfc Brian M. Wolverton – Spc Justin R. Pellerin – Sgt Matthew L. Ingram – Spc Troy O. Tom – Pfc Jonathan C. Yanney – SSgt Andrew T. Lobosco – 2nd Lt Joseph D. Fortin – Cpl Darby T. Morin – LCpl Donald J. Hogan – Capt John L. Hallett III – Capt Cory J. Jenkins – Sgt 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer – Spc Dennis M. Williams – Pfc Matthew E. Wildes – SSgt Kurt R. Curtiss – Sgt Earl D. Werner – Pvt Taylor D. Marks – Spc Abraham S. Wheeler III – SSgt Jason S. Dahlke – Pfc Eric W. Hario.

You may not recognize these names. They may not mean anything to you personally, but they are the military heroes who gave their lives in August 2009, so that America and other nations may live in freedom.

In the last 30 days, every family of these brave warriors heard a knock on the door and the words “We regret to inform you …” Forty-seven blue stars in an instant tragically became gold. The effect on these families is now rippling throughout their worlds with waves of devastation, untold pain and unanswered questions.  It is a time they may have imagined could happen, but one they could never have prepared for. In a moment their lives were changed forever. In the months and years to come, they will begin to pick up the pieces, to heal as best they can. But there will never be words that will make a difference, never be a cure for that hole in their hearts. There will be only forced acceptance and the repetitive thought that life can sometimes be too interminably long.

You may not know who these men and women were, but they are more than mere statistics on a report. Forty-seven heroes with mothers and fathers, grandparents, wives, children, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, friends, co-workers, schoolmates, neighbors and fellow citizens … and their comrades in arms who were with them when they died. These 47 lives have now touched thousands in death. Sadly, not once do I recall hearing the name of a fallen hero mentioned nationally last month. I hope that you did.

These heroes, their families and the millions of others like them are why Honor and Remember exists. They are the fuel for the passion that drives our cause. Their legacy lives on. But will they be remembered by more than their families and friends? We cannot and should not wait until next Memorial Day to acknowledge their sacrifice. We must not wait a year to let the families know that we care, to express our thanks for what they have given to America.

The Honor and Remember Flag is already flying proudly in thousands of places around the country for all of those lost in service to America last month and before, silently signifying thanks to those families who will be numb for much, much longer and for those who will suffer the same loss this month and next.

Thank you for partnering with us to keep these memories alive and for displaying this symbol of remembrance that speaks with more volume than canons. Please pray for our active duty military and their families, for we know there will be more knocks on the door and more families to comfort.

Thank you for joining us on this perpetual journey of healing. There is much more to be done.

God Bless,
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

  Our Hero’s Story – Debbie Drexler

I was sitting on the porch one day, thinking about the son we lost to the war in Iraq, when a strange thought occurred to me. What should the American Idol TV show really be about? Rather than focusing on singers, what if the program was all about individuals who ought to be true American idols?

As I entertained this thought, I envisioned myself going on the American Idol stage, carrying my son’s boots and hat. Following closely behind me are two handsome servicemen in full uniform, carrying the U.S. flag between them. One is a Marine and one a Sailor, both so handsome, both my sons. All eyes are on us as we approach the center of the stage. Finally, we are standing in front of the judges named Honor, Pride and Freedom.

As my hands tremble and tears run down my face, I reach for the microphone and say, “I am only a mother. I have no talent to speak of. Of all the things I have done in this world, nothing is greater than raising three honorable and fine sons. One gave his life for our freedom, freedom that many of us take for granted.” The judge named Freedom has tears in her eyes and she rises to her feet and says, “I know their names. I know what they’ve done. As long as there is life, they will never be forgotten.”

Off to the side a small young boy stands up and starts walking toward the stage. He comes over and looks up at me with big blue eyes. I kneel down and places the boots on the floor next to me. He stands directly in front of me. “You don’t know me,” he says. “I was to be your grandson, but because my daddy was killed so young, I was never born.” Tears stream down my face as I reach out to touch him. All I can feel is air. Another shadow comes toward me from off in the distance. As it gets closer, I can make out the face. It’s my dear son Jeremy in full dress Army uniform and proud as he can be.

“Mom, don’t worry about me,” he says. “I know you’re in pain, but don’t grieve so much that it consumes you. I am proud of what I have done for our country. I am so proud of my brothers. I will see you again someday. I know you feel I have been forgotten, but I am not. My Father in heaven knows and so do you. As long as you remember me, I know I have done well.”

My two other sons can’t believe what they are seeing. Jeremy walks up to them, stands at attention and salutes. “You are my brothers,” Jeremy says. “I am very proud of you and I will always be with you.” He steps back, gives them a final salute, and turns to leave, hand in hand with the little boy. And then they are gone. All of the judges are standing. My American Idol daydream ends as I pick up the boots and walk off stage with my two sons following, carrying the American flag.

The winners of the American Idol TV show go on to achieve fame and wealth. People around the country admire them. But what about the men and women who lose their lives in service to America? Where is the tribute they deserve? We must honor and remember their sacrifice! I speak with a shattered heart and I beg you with all my soul: Don’t forget our fallen heroes.

Debbie Drexler, proud mother of
PFC. Jeremy Drexler, KIA May 2, 2004, Iraq,
SGT. Kenneth Drexler, U.S. Marines
AM2 Timothy Drexler, U.S. Navy

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.

*** Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Norma Luther  

In 1988 my son died in a helicopter crash in Germany during very foggy weather. I remember thinking, Why did this have to happen to my son? He did things the right way and tried to follow his Christian teachings. I wondered why his life was taken just as it seemed he was on his way to a great career and wonderful life with his wife. I cried buckets of tears and tried so hard to make sense of it all without success. I was so angry with God!

For years I carried that anger around. Sometimes I think the anger is what kept me going. I couldn’t read anything in the New Testament. I read Psalms, Proverbs, Job. I just wanted to read about the sorrow of others, hoping I would find the answer to moving forward. It seemed as if no one remembered him after only a few weeks and they didn’t even want to talk about him or his death.

Four years later, I was attending a women’s retreat and the exercise for the evening was to write something we wanted to get rid of in our lives. We were to write it down on paper and throw the paper in the fireplace to burn up. So I wrote that I wanted to give up my anger towards God. I wish I could say I was instantly healed but I wasn’t. However, I was better and as time went on I was able to get back to a relationship with God, my heavenly Father, that was not always tinged with anger.

I remember wishing I could have a memorial for my son; something that would be visible for people to know my son had lived and ultimately gave his life while serving his country. I never was bitter towards the military because my son chose his path and wanted to go to West Point. He was proud of his service and for me to be bitter would have demeaned everything for which his life stood. The principles he upheld while he was living were also worth dying for.

I believe accidental service-related deaths are not given enough honor and respect. I believe that even if a soldier dies in a training accident while in boot camp, he deserves honor for taking that step to serve his country. We don’t really pay any attention to these deaths. We shake our heads and say, “What a shame,” but that is the end of it. What if we treated our police and fire personnel like that? I guess sometimes we do that without meaning to and it is a shame, but at least the firefighters and police officers give their fallen the honor and respect that is properly deserved.

Each death protecting others in the line of duty should be given honor and respect and homage should be paid. After all, our country counts on these people to keep us free and to be there to fight if the occasion arises. They are no less worthy than those who died in battle. How can we treat these deaths with anything less than the highest respect and greatest honor?

The Honor and Remember Flag will be that memorial I so longed for when my son died. Thank you, George, for coming up with this idea.

Norma Luther, national chaplain and newsletter editor,
National President, American Gold Star Mothers.
Proud mother of Capt. Glen P. Adams, Jr.

  Recent News and Upcoming Events

September, October and November will be extremely busy with many Personalized flag presentations scheduled throughout the months. Please watch our home page for additional information.

Sept 25/26 – We will be in Washington DC for the special Weekend of Remembrance, and also attending events related to the Gold Star Mothers organization. Five personalized Honor and Remember flags will be presented this weekend in two separate ceremonys.

October 15th , 2009, Thursday, 9:30 am
UVAF “Veterans Challenge”Charity Golf Tournament
560 Summer Lake Lane – Virginia Beach, VA, 23454
www.UnitedVeteransAlliance.com
Mobile (757) 235-3733 * Fax (866) 646-2460
Registration and driving range opens at 9:30AM
Click here for registration form.

November 4-5 – New York City trip – Planning a trip to visit the morning news programs the morning of November 5th. I am asking all Gold Star families and supporters in the area to consider joining us in creating national awareness that Thursday before Veterans day. Please write for more info.

November 7th, 2009
Everyone Welcome To Ride & Support Our Disabled Veterans
5 personalized Honor and Remember flags will be presented.
Motorcycles & Automobiles
Registration 9:00 to 10:30AM (Biker Breakfast Available)
At Busky’s Chill & Grill in Chesapeake, VA
(Hanbury Village – 237 Hanbury Road East, Suite 32)
Click here for registration form.

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

(Canton, Ohio)
Very Impressive, glad to see this, long overdue. God Bless our Military! I can’t believe this isn’t on more of the blogs, first time I’ve heard of this. Will do my part to spread the word.

(Wills Point, TX)
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of those who fear Him.” Psalm 116:15 Remembering Glenn Dale Hicks, II and thanking countless others for your sacrifices on our behalf.

(Lakeside, Oregon)
I served 2 tours in Nam w/ the 25TH. I fly this beautiful Flag whenever I ride my motorcycle. I also take some ‘Honor and Remember’ Cards along & pass them out to folks. Thanks George & I pray that this Flag blesses all those that fly it. I’m on board with this and spreading the word…. US Navy.

(Portsmouth, VA)
I’m glad to say my flag waves proudly over the skies of Port Norfolk. And I support the effort of the flag campaign.

(Charles Town, WV)
I think this is an awesome idea. As a vet I know I appreciate it and even more now that my son is overseas with the USMC!

(Twin Falls, Idaho)
George – It was a honor meeting you at GOTG last week. I so appreciated the way you have made this effort your “life’s mission”. Please know that we in the PGR support you. Thanks for all you do. Idaho State Captain, Patriot Guard Riders.

Honor and Remember Dispatch – August 2009, Vol 2 Issue 8

  Founder’s Message  – How you can Help!

As we move into the final month of summertime and look forward to fall, we need to think about renewing our efforts to build support for the Honor and Remember initiatives. The following is a simple list of things everyone can do to spread the word about our mission:

1. Be sure that everyone in your sphere of influence (i.e. relatives, friends, co-workers, church members, etc.) know about the Honor and Remember campaign. Encourage them to go to our web site www.honorandremember.org and sign the petition. Also, please make them aware that we offer a variety of merchandise to outwardly display their support.

2. Encourage organizations that have a flagpole (i.e. businesses, churches, veterans groups, etc.) to purchase and fly the Honor and Remember Flag. Wherever you see an American flag flying is a potential location for the Honor and Remember Flag.

3. Write a letter to your city council requesting that it adopt a resolution officially recognizing the Honor and Remember Flag. Ten cities in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina have already done so. We can help you with wording the request. You can use the wording of congressional bill HR 1034 as a guideline.

4. Contact your state representatives and ask them to seek a resolution adopting the Honor and Remember Flag at the state level. The state of Pennsylvania has already endorsed and Virginia is currently writing adoption legislation. Again, use HR 1034 as a guideline. (PA link)

5. Contact your U.S. congressional representative and ask them to co-sponsor HR 1034. It is important that they co-sponsor and actually place their name on the bill, which is currently in the House Judiciary Committee. They must contact the office of Rep. Randy Forbes from VA.

6. If you know of a Gold Star family (family that has lost someone in military service) in your community, please consider sponsoring an Honor and Remember Flag for them. Sponsoring a flag means paying for the personalization of a flag that pays tribute to their loved one and organizing a special presentation of the flag to the family.

7. Consider setting up a table at local events to have petitions signed and to hand out Honor and Remember literature.

8. Contact local radio and TV stations and newspapers and educate them about the Honor and Remember Flag. We are very willing to do interviews to educate the public and increase awareness.

9. Call or write to national radio and TV talk show personalities and educate them about the flag, encouraging them to visit the Honor and Remember website for more information. Sean Hannity is a good start. Also please thank Dennis Miller for his strong support!

10. Share your ideas about raising awareness for Honor and Remember with us. We are always looking for new ways to get the word out.

11. There are many expenses involved in conducting this national campaign. Any support you can give is essential. If every supporter donated just $5.00 a month we would be able to provide flags to thousands of families in total fulfillment of our charitable goal. Honor and Remember, Inc. is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible. Please Donate Here.

Finally, we are in the process of forming state chapters of Honor and Remember. Each chapter will be organized to promote Honor and Remember by pursuing the goals outlined above. If you are interested in becoming involved in forming or joining a state chapter, please contact us and we will get you started on the process.

Blessings,
George

  Our Hero’s Story – The Tapper Family

Petty Officer First Class David M. Tapper, U.S. Navy Seal, served his country for 13 years. He was killed in action on August 20, 2003 during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. The following are thoughts from his family.

Diana: For a long time, I called David my BIG LITTLE BROTHER. To us, this meant that we were both responsible to protect each other. Knowing there was mutual trust and care, we looked out for each other and the things most important to us in our lives.  When I think about David and the strength and courage with which he faced the world, I will always be proud of all that he is and all that he has done.  By his example, David has provided us all with a never-ending foundation of strength.

I could never have asked for more in a brother and I will miss him every day.  I will miss his friendship and all that we shared, for he has played such a huge role in my life.  The thing I will miss the most is spending time with him and all the good times and laughter we had together. David loved to make us laugh.  His funny gestures, faces and antics personified his wit and his charm. I believe in my heart that David would want us all to hold onto the memories he gave us. When we are together, we can honor him most by sharing the happy times, embracing each other, and taking the time to say, “I love you.”

Brenda: They say one person doesn’t make a difference, but they are wrong, My brother did, he did.  I love you David and I love your family.  We are so blessed to have them; your dear wife Tracy and your four children: Raimen, Vanessa, Talia, and Jared.

Ruth: When we grieve a loss such as this, we tend to put our loved one on a pedestal.  David belongs there.  He was my brother and my friend.  There is not a soul on this earth that I ever spoke of with more pride.  I never will.

Judi: David was truly dedicated to his family and to his Navy Seal family.  He has “fought the good fight, he has finished his course” and I know he has been given a crown in glory.  I miss him dearly, but some glad morning, we will be together again … forever in eternity.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.

*** Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Karen Cox 

I am old enough to remember the Vietnam War and to have been the proud wearer of a POW/MIA bracelet.  As soon as I read that one of George Lutz’s visions is to have the Honor and Remember Flag adopted as a national emblem, as the POW/MIA flag has been, I felt an immediate connection and knew this was a cause worthy of our support. My conviction only deepened as I read about the symbolism of each part of the flag.

As I read, I could only think of the 21 Marines from my husband’s battalion who died during their deployment to Iraq in 2004.  My husband is a U.S. Navy chaplain and served as the battalion chaplain with the 1st Battalion 8th Marines in the Battle of Fallujah in November 2004. They lost 17 Marines in that battle plus an additional four Marines during the course of their entire seven month deployment. I think this flag is a very fitting tribute to them and to all who have so willingly given their lives in defense of our freedom since the birth of our country.  This flag truly honors those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

My husband and I paid to have flags personalized for the Gold Star families from the 1st Battalion 8th Marines. I was honored to participate in the presentation ceremony to many of these families on July 4th.  Many of the Marines who fought alongside these fallen Marines were also present. To witness the healing that took place for both the Gold Star families and the Marines who were there as we honored and remembered their sons and brothers-in-arms by presenting personalized flags to the families will be an experience I will never forget.  I am committed even more now to seeing this flag officially adopted and for more Gold Star families to receive a personalized flag.

  Recent News and Presentations

July 4th 1:30pm – Harbor Fest. Norfolk, VA, Flag Presentation to a Vietnam era mother in honor of
WO1 James H. Dunn III ~ 23 April 1969 ~ Vietnam

July 4th 11am – Washington DC, 1/8 Reunion. Presentation of 20 flags to the families of the 1/8 marines lost in Battle for Fallujah, Iraq. Cpl Todd J. Godwin  ~  20 July 2004, Sgt Lonny D. Wells ~ 9 Nov 2004, Sgt RJ Jimenez ~ 10 Nov 2004, Cpl Nicholas L. Ziolkowski  ~ 14 Nov 2004, LCpl Bradley L. Parker  ~ 15 Nov 2004, LCpl Billy L. Miller ~ 15 Nov 2004, LCpl Demarkus D. Brown ~ 19 Nov 2004, LCpl Jeffery S. Holmes ~ 25 Nov 2004, Cpl Gentian Marku ~ 25 Nov 2004, Cpl Kirk J. Bosselmann ~ 27 Nov 2004, LCpl Joshua E. Lucero ~ 27 Nov 2004, Cpl Joshua M. Munns ~ USMC, 1stLt Dan T. Malcom Jr. ~ 10 Nov 2004.

July 16th – Laguna Hills, CA, Gold Star Wives convention. Flag Presentation to founder Marie Jordan-Speers, WWII widow, in honor of  Pvt. Edward H. Jordan ~ 25 Nov 1944 ~ Germany

July 17th – Meeting with Dennis Miller. Received overwhelming endorsement.

July 18th – Virginia Beach, VA, Allen Stone Memorial Run. Flag Presentation to a Navy Seal mother in honor of  PO1 L. Allen Stone ~ 3 Sept 1999 ~ U.S. Navy

July 30th – Ogden, UT, Field of Flags. National Gathering of the Patriot Guard. Four Presentations to Gold Star families. Remembering CSM Stacy L. Hunt ~ 24 Feb 2000 ~ U.S. Army, Spc. Daniel G. Dolan ~ 27 Aug 2006 ~ Iraq, LCpl Dion James Stephenson ~ 29 Jan 1991 ~ Iraq, LCpl. Cesar F. Machado-Olmos ~ 13 Sept 2004 ~ Iraq

Please read our blog for more details. www.honorandremember.org/blog.php

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

These flags are amazing. I love what you have done. I never really paid attention that they didn’t have anything for fallen soldiers until my husband was killed and I couldn’t believe it. This is truly amazing and thank you! Fountain, CO

Thank you so much for the personalized flag at the freedom run. It’s beautiful. I now need others that I will fly daily and on my motorcycle. Janet (mother) LCPL Sean P Maher. Grayslake, IL

I am a full-time police officer and a professional firearms instructor who trains a lot of our nation’s military and police personnel. I consider this an honor and I will give these items out to the soldiers and officers I come in contact with at my schools. I will also direct them to this site and encourage them to get involved and make a donation to help you with your cause. Thank you for the wonderful task you have chosen to take up. It’s a terrific way to pay tribute to those who have died for the freedoms that we enjoy everyday.
Collinsville, OK

I am interested in using our Troopwalk 2009 cross-country walk to help see that an “Honor and Remember” Flag gets flown on every administrative flag pole across the United States! God Bless You as you endure the loss of one of our country’s heroes – your son, Anthony – and God Bless You for considering thousands of others who also paid the ultimate price in defending our freedoms! May God also bless our men and women in uniform and bring them home to their loved ones as soon as possible! Phoenix, AZ

I lost my dad at Guadalcanal. I can’t wait to fly it. Kitty Hawk, NC

I lost my son, PFC Patrick Allen DeVoe II, on March 8, 2009. Thank you so much for honoring ALL OUR FALLEN HEROES. God Bless! Auburn, NY

Honor and Remember Dispatch – July 2009, Vol 2 Issue 7

  Founder’s Message  – Leaving a Legacy

Each year on the Fourth of July, we celebrate the freedoms we won at our nation’s founding and remember the cost that was paid, not only 233 years ago, but also many times since, when those freedoms needed defending.  We remember all of those who laid down their lives to preserve the ideals Americans hold most dear. Gravestones across this country and in foreign lands mark the lives of the brave military men and women who gave the full measure of devotion to this country. We build monuments and name streets, bridges and buildings for our fallen to honor their sacrifice. Americans are a people who need to remember.

As I have pursued the mission of Honor and Remember, I have come to the conclusion that there are two basic questions we all ask ourselves sooner or later: What happens when I die? What difference will my life make?

Answering the first question requires serious reflection on spiritual matters. If you believe, as I do, in life after death, then your path in this life is shaped by the hope in an eternal life that will include being reunited with loved ones who have gone on ahead.

Answering the second question means making decisions about what we wish to leave behind when we’re gone. And it leads to other questions, such as: Will the world be a better place because I lived? Will I leave a positive mark on the lives of others? What will my legacy be?

A legacy is a vestige of your life that remains after you are gone. A tangible legacy may be money or property left to somebody as part of an estate. But life presents us with opportunities to leave individual legacies that go beyond material wealth.

I believe that the Honor and Remember cause presents people with the opportunity to leave a tangible legacy of tribute to another life, one that was given for all Americans. When it is all said and done, is there any more significant legacy that we can leave, than to have made another person’s life better in some way? And one of the most significant ways I can think of to do that is to honor the family of a loved one whose life was cut short for my benefit. To say: “I appreciate the sacrifice your family has made for me and my family” touches the core of who we are as human beings.

Supporting our troops and honoring and caring for our veterans are important concerns for every patriotic American. Unfortunately, our duty to honor and remember those who have given their lives for America may fade under the pressures of day-to-day life. The families of the fallen never forget their loved ones and they hope that the rest of America won’t either. But without a daily reminder, it’s hard to meet that obligation. That’s why the Honor and Remember Flag was created.

As a father of a son who was lost in service to America, I hold onto anything I can touch that helps me remember him, including the Honor and Remember Flag with his name on it. As the nation flies this flag, as we individually fly this flag, we make a silent statement to every man and woman who ever served in the United States military that we appreciate their service. And we make a statement to every family that sacrificed a loved one that we will never forget.

I believe we live in a time with the largest contingent of living veterans ever in our history. It is this generation that must leave a mark for those that follow. Flying the Honor and Remember Flag says thank you to them and to every family that has or will give its blood for our nation. In the scope of one’s life there aren’t many opportunities to leave a national legacy. However, I believe flying the Honor and Remember Flag is a significant way to send a powerful and positive message that will bless the lives of those who risked everything and to the families who lost more than we can ever repay.

God Bless you,
George
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

  Our Hero’s Story – Harriet Goodiron

My 25-year-old son Nathan (Nate) J. Goodiron was serving in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom with Bismarck North Dakota’s 188th Air Defense and Artillery Unit. Nathan was a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, which are located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in New Town, ND. The eldest of our two children, Nate lived in Mandaree, ND.

Nate, his first cousin SGT C.J. O’Berry and gunner Sam Floberg were riding in a humvee on Thanksgiving day, November 23, 2006, when their vehicle was hit by four enemy rocket-propelled grenades (RPG). Nate was driving. The first three RPG rounds hit the humvee without causing severe damage. However, the fourth round penetrated the rear passenger door, taking off Sam’s leg and blasting deadly shrapnel into Nate’s back, killing him. CJ was hit with shrapnel and suffers today not only with complications from his wounds, but also with recurring nightmares about that day.

As I was reading stories about other families of fallen heroes, I realized that our journeys are all the same, long and lonely. Nate planned to be a warrior who came home to live a long, happy life with his new wife, family, friends and community. Nate and Eileen were married on November 29, 2005. He left on his deployment on December 04, 2005. On his wedding anniversary, November 29, 2006, our family held a memorial service for him at the event center in New Town. This was truly a rough day for all of us. Nate and his bride had spent only a few days of their marriage together.

My family, like the other families of the fallen, does not want the memory of our sons and daughters forgotten. They have given their all so that we may live freely. Once I received the Honor and Remember petition, I immediately signed it and forwarded it to the people on my contact list. This is just a small gesture that we can make in return for their sacrifice, so that “they may never be forgotten.”   Thank you for all you are doing, George!

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300 – 400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.

*** Please send to contact@honorandremember.org


  Why I’m on Board – James Ackman 

George, there have been many times I have started writing an e-mail to you to express my respect and admiration for your obvious vigor, devotion, and desire for your cause, and to offer my assistance, only to find myself deleting whole paragraphs, then whole e-mails.  What I found after reading my e-mails before sending them was that they all sounded like I would be making these great big sacrifices to try to help.  Since I was the one writing them, I knew that was not the case, but I could see how it might come across as being somewhat myopic on my part, and my biggest fear was offering assistance for the wrong reasons, for some personal satisfaction and the potential for some sort of recognition.

In my humble opinion, that would be worse than doing nothing at all. It would bring dishonor to you, your family, your cause, the servicemen and women, their families, Kevin Baker (a disabled veteran who passed away while making a bike ride in support of Honor and Remember), and most of all, the memory of your son.  So it was with a cautious reluctance that I offered my assistance in the past.  But ever since I first read about Kevin’s passing and his passion for helping your cause, there was that sense of meaningful purpose behind your cause.  There was this constant reminder that there were people out there like yourself, your son, your family, Kevin, and a whole lot of other people that CHOOSE their path in life instead of life choosing a path for them.

One thing my wife has taught me, whether she realizes it or not, is that if something is right for you, you will have the same or stronger feeling about it as time passes.  If it’s not right, you lose the desire for it. There are many times in people’s lives where they will be given opportunities to make a difference in someone else’s life for better or worse.  In my life, your son has given me that opportunity to choose a path in life… or rather choose a path OF life.  As you can read, and as my daughter and wife have pointed out to me, I can be longwinded at times, but I want to let you know that I will do what I can to help your cause.  And I can honestly say that I do offer my assistance for the right reasons: for the families of the ones that keep us safe.  Stay strong!

  Recent News and Presentations


Virginia Congressman Glenn Nye (June 1, 09) Honor and Remember flag HR 1034 endorsement.

Gold Star Mothers, Hampton Roads Chapter  (June 6, 09) Personalized flag presentation to Betty Queener in honor of her son CWO3 Michael F. Anderson ~ 21 Feb 1991 ~ Saudi Arabia. The flag was sponsored by the GSM Chapter.

Virginia State HOG Rally (Harley Owners Group) (June 18, 09) Introduction of campaign by founder George Lutz and presentation of personalized flags to Gold Star families in honor of ; SP4 Stanley E. Taylor ~ 21 Dec 1969 ~ Vietnam, SSG David W. Textor ~ 15 July 2008 ~ Iraq, Sgt Michael V. Lalush ~ 30 March 2003 ~ Iraq. Flags were sponsored by the United Veterans Alliance Foundation.

Memorial service for Kevin Baker (June 19, 09) George Lutz gave remarks in Marseilles, IL at Kevin’s memorial service and presented his mother with a personalized flag in his honor. Also a flag was presented to friend Susan Moreno who lost her son SFC John M. Hennen  ~ 17 June 2007 ~ Afghanistan. Kevin had intended to ride his bicycle to Marseilles for this presentation but died in route. Read story here.

Illinois Freedom Run (June 20, 09) With an audience of more than five thousand, and more than sixty Gold Star families in attendance. Mr. Lutz was given the honor of presenting personalized flags to twelve families. SPC David S. Collins ~  9 April 2006 ~ Iraq, Cpl Kevin M. Clark ~ 19 Feb 2005 ~  Iraq, SSgt Lincoln D. Hollinsaid  ~ 7 April 2003 ~ Iraq, SPC Brian M. Romines  ~ 6 June 2005 ~ Iraq, SSgt Walter F. Cohee III  ~ 20 Jan 2002 ~ Afghanistan, PV2 James H. Ebbers   ~ 14 Oct 2002 ~ Africa, LCpl Jonathan K. Price  ~ 13 Jan 2006 ~ Iraq, LCpl Sean P. Maher  ~ 2 Feb 2005 ~ Iraq, PVT Jonathan L. Gifford ~ 23 March 2003 ~ Iraq, Sgt Eric A. Lill  ~ 6 July 2007 ~ Iraq, LCpl Christopher B. Wasser  ~ 8 April 2004 ~ Iraq, Cpl Michael Eyre Thompson ~ 18 Sept 2008 ~ Iraq

Gold Star Mothers, Nat’l Convention (June 21, 09) Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Mr Lutz presented personalized flags to four precious mothers in honor of Lt Kent M. Kiepe ~ 26 Feb 1992 ~ US Navy,
PFC Clifford J. Stewart ~ 15 Dec 1963 ~ Vietnam, UTCN John P. Van Dusen ~ 20 Sept 1968 ~ Vietnam,
Cpl Randy R. Mueller ~ 3 March 1969 ~ Vietnam

Please read our Blog for more details. www.honorandremember.org/blog.php

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

I spent a tour in Iraq and lost several dear friends. My little brother has also spent 1 tour and preparing for his 2nd tour as you read this. He also lost several dear friends over there. This flag would be an honor for any family to have. Twin Falls, Idaho

I’m the sister of PFC David Dietrich who died Dec 29 2006 in Iraq Thank you for honoring all the fallen heros all that died in all the wars Thank You. Also thank to the families of the ones that died fighting for our freedom. Carlisle , Pennsylvania

I’m the mother of Spc Ignacio Nacho Ramirez kia on 08/09/2006. I read your messages on the web and see the flag what a great tribute for all the soldiers thank you things like this is what keep us going God bless you  Henderson, Nevada

Dear organizers: hello, I heard about your site from Virginia congressman Tom Perriello so i decided to find out more about your mission. thank you for all you do for our veterans past, present and future. i hope this national flag symbol resolution passes. it is one of many. God’s speed, Judy. Wylliesburg, VA

I am the Proud Mom of one of our Fallen Heroes; Nicholas D. Turcotte was a SGT with the MN Army Nat’l Guard~he was killed in Iraq on 12-04-06. I miss him every single day…I wanted to Thank You for Honoring our Heroes, past, present and future with this amazing flag. I have signed the petition and continue to share this flag with everyone I know! Bless you, Debbie. Westminster, Colorado

I lost my nephew, US Navy Seal Lt. Michael Murphy on 6/18/05 in Afghanistan. I am so thankful I attended the Virginia State Harley Rally and met the wonderful father who began this campaign. His staff were very understanding when I talked about Michael. I have e-mailed everyone in my address book to sign the petition and asked that they all do the same. Thank you for remembering, not only Michael, but all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They are all heroes who should never be forgotten.  Medford, New York

Honor and Remember Dispatch – June 2009, Vol 2 Issue 6


  Founder’s Message  – Anniversary Appeal

 It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since we unveiled the Honor and Remember Flag on Memorial Day 2008. Looking back, I am amazed at the significant progress we have made toward our goals.Personalized Honor and Remember Flags have been presented to dozens of families, including family members of the 17 sailors killed in the attack on the USS Cole. Additionally, many individual ceremonies have been created. The requests for personalized flags are growing fast as more families become aware of our campaign.Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes has introduced HR 1034, a bill to endorse the Honor and Remember Flag as a national symbol. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously passed a resolution in support of the flag, as have many cities in Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states.The Honor and Remember Flag has been endorsed by the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., the Fleet Reserve Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Officers Association of America, The Vietnam Veterans of America, the Air Force Security Forces Association, the Naval Reserve Association, Veterans of Modern Warfare and many others.Honor and Remember state chapters are now beginning to form, enabling us to spread the word of our mission at the grassroots level. People are volunteering to promote the cause around the country. www.honorandremember.org/statechapters.php

As exciting as these accomplishments are, Honor and Remember is facing a significant challenge. Our resources are reaching a point that will soon limit our ability to keep our steady pace moving forward. Expenses that include manufacturing, public awareness and presenting personalized flags are mounting.

You have expressed your support for the Honor and Remember Flag campaign by signing our petition and flying the flag. Please consider adding to that support by making a one-time or monthly contribution. By partnering with us in this small way, you can help us keep moving forward with city, state and federal adoption, public awareness and, most importantly, remembering every one of the families of our fallen. Our parents, spouses and children.

You can easily make a contribution  on our website by clicking on this link: www.honorandremember.org/donation.php

Your contribution will help us to continue pressing on toward a national symbol of remembrance; recognizing our fallen military men and women more than two days a year.
Thank you for your support. God bless you,

George Lutz


    Our Hero’s Story – Gary Boyle
I am the son of a downed pilot still missing from the Korean War, Lt. C.E. Boyle Jr. I was two years old when the Korean War began. My dad’s unit, the 452nd Bomb Wing Light, was activated and stationed at George Air Force Base in Victorville, California. My family lived off base in a log cabin. My ONLY memory of my father is of him holding my hand as we walked to our rural mailbox down the dirt road that led to our home. My mother always insisted that he take my hand because of the presence of rattlesnakes. I have a photo of my father holding me while standing under the wing of his A-26 shortly before he left for Korea. Now, at the age of 60, I still look up whenever I hear an old radial engine rumbling overhead.Dad flew 73 missions in Korea, one of which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. His last flight was a single-plane, volunteer mission over North Korea at night. At one point in the mission, he broke radio silence in order to give coordinates for his plane and request assistance from a naval ship near his position. Unfortunately, the Russians controlled the area of Wonsan Harbor, where his plane probably went down, and no American ships could go there.I began to investigate my dad’s fate when I was in my late twenties. My quest for information led me on a journey that included meeting with KGB officers at the Pentagon, making a number of television appearance and speaking before many groups. Last September I was invited to speak at Edwards Air Force Base, where I was able to express my undying loyalty, admiration and respect for those in uniform. Eventually, the government released a statement saying that the number of MIAs from the Korean War is more than 8000.The phrase “honor and remember” has a deep meaning for me. While my memory of my father is limited, the honor I feel about his service to his country is boundless. Losing my dad when I was so young left a huge void in my life. The Honor and Remember Flag is a wonderful reminder for all of us who have lost loved ones that our nation will never forget their sacrifice and the loss their families endure.NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300 – 400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.

*** Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

    Why I’m on Board – Barb Benard  
The first time I was introduced to the Honor and Remember Flag was at a national executive board meeting of the American Gold Star Mothers headquarters in Washington, D.C., back in 2008.  The flag caught my eye immediately.  As I listened to George’s explanation of the flag’s concept and meaning, I knew right away I had found my mission.  This flag is a daily reminder for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our great country from the Revolutionary War to the present conflicts.As a Gold Star Mother, whose son Sgt. 1st Class Brent Adams was killed in Ramadi, Iraq, I embrace this flag so I won’t ever feel that my son died in vain or that he will ever be forgotten.  The Honor and Remember Flag is a constant reminder of gratitude and respect.  I have been present on several occasions when a personalized flag was presented to some of our Vietnam-era mothers and some from the present conflicts.  All were very emotional and forever grateful as they clutched their flags to honor and remember their special hero.   It was a great comfort for them to know that their son or daughter would be remembered in such a significant manner.On March 14, 2008, I was privileged and honored to receive my own personalized flag with my son’s name on it.   What an honor!  I am having a frame made for it and it will hang in my family room over my sofa for all to see.  I do not want to ruin this precious appliqued flag, so I bought a screen print flag, which flies, on my flagpole under the American Flag for all to see.  I am very passionate about this flag and will do everything in my power to get this flag recognized as a national symbol of gratitude and respect for all our service men and women.  Support our military. Honor and remember our fallen.  Thanks to you George for your flag design and your tireless efforts to push forward with this flag.  Words alone cannot express how healing and comforting it is for a parent to receive one of these special flags.Your friend and advocate, Barb 

  Recent News and Presentations


Community United Methodist Church Service (May 25 09) Special Memorial Day service, Gave keynote address. It was such a well thought out and beautiful tribute and was more honoring than words can describe to stand for our brave men and women this day.

The Memorial Weekend – Woodward Park, CA (May 24 09) As part of the – “One Nation Under God” event in the city of Manteca, CA on stage in the presence of several thousand patriots, the family of CPL Michael D. Anderson Jr. – 14 December 2004 – Iraq, was presented with an Honor and Remember Flag. Flag was donated by the national Fleet Reserve Association.

Bedford memorial ceremony (May 23 09) During this ceremony Tom Leisher presented a personalized Honor and Remember Flag to the family of 1st Lt Joshua Loren Booth ~ 17 Oct 2006 ~ Iraq.

Memorial weekend – Rolling Thunder XXII (May 23 09)
Endorsed by the Rolling Thunder organization. Presented Honor and Remember Flags to Mrs Ruth Stonesifer (Afghanistan), Mrs Betty Freeman (Vietnam) and Mrs Theresa Davis (Vietnam).

Wall of Honor Richmond, VA (May 21 09) Spoke to more than eighty Gold Star families in attendance. I was given the honor of presenting a personalized flag to the family of Cpl Jared W. Kubasak ~ 12 December 2005 ~ Iraq.

Harley Davidson Yorktown (May 20 09) Presented a personalized flag at the Yorktown Harley Davidson HOG chapter meeting to Gold Star family of LCpl Kyle W. Brown ~ 7 Jan 2006 ~ Iraq. Flag was donated by United Veteran’s Alliance Foundation.

America Supports you Texas (May 15 09) Six Honor and Remember flags were presented to the families of Spc Forrest John Waterbury ~ 14 March 2007 ~ Iraq, Pfc Paul Balint Jr. ~ 15 Dec 2006 ~ Iraq, Pfc Jeremy L. Drexler ~ 2 May 2004 ~ Iraq, PO1 Randy G. Whitaker ~ 30 Nov 2001 ~ U.S. Navy, Sgt Michael C. Carlson ~ 24 Jan 2005 ~ Iraq, Sgt. James P. Muldoon ~ 29 June 2006 ~ Iraq .

Greenlawn Memorial Gardens (May 08 09) Rep Randy Forbes and Mayor Alan Krasnoff both spoke as we presented a personalized Honor and Remember flag to Rose Tuazon, whose son Andy died on mother’s day 2004.

Mayors celebration – National day of prayer (May 07 09) 
Presented to Martha Ann Consolvo a personalized Honor and Remember Flag in tribute to her son Cpt John W. Consolvo, MIA 1972 Vietnam.

Please read our Blog for more details. www.honorandremember.org/blog.php

GUESTBOOK COMMENTS

I picked up your flag at RT-2009 and rode it thru heavy rains and wind back to NY. The flag will remain on the bike for all to see and remember. I was able to get members of our chapter to purchase the flags and spread the word. God Bless.
Flushing, NY

Dear organizers: hello. I heard about your site from Virginia congressman Tom Perriello so i decided to find out more about your mission. Thank you for all you do for our veterans past, present and future. I hope this national flag symbol resolution passes… God’s speed, Judy. Wylliesburg, VA

I am a Marine vet and a man of few words so I only have one thing to say — OOORAH!!!! Keep up the good work everyone! Sacramento, CA

I lost my husband 06/21/06 in Iraq! Thank you for keeping those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, memories alive!!! God Bless.
Vine Grove, KY

I’m the sister of PFC David Dietrich who died Dec 29 2006 in Iraq Thank you for honoring all the fallen heros all that died in all the wars. Also thank you to the families of the ones that died fighting for our freedom.
Carlisle, PA

I Charles Green ( May 11 09 ) (Virginia Beach, va)
I am a chief engineer and for as long as I’m around this flag will fly alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, Nato, Virgina State & The Stars & Stripes! Virginia Beach, VA

Honor and Remember Dispatch – May 2009, Vol 2 Issue 5

  Founder’s Message  – Gold Star Presentations

I am tremendously grateful for the people who write, encouraging and supporting the Honor and Remember Flag campaign. Every day I get messages expressing gratitude and respect for the effort we are making to awaken America to the need for a national symbol of remembrance for the men and women who have given their lives in military service.

This month Honor and Remember will celebrate our first anniversary. It was Memorial Day 2008 when the Honor and Remember Flag was officially unveiled at a special ceremony at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia. Since that day, we have experienced an amazing outpouring of encouragement and validation from many national organizations and individuals. We have a bill before the U.S. Congress and we have received significant media attention. And most importantly, we have presented personalized Honor and Remember Flags to dozens of families recognizing specifically the loss of their loved one. But there is so much more to do.

Here at the one-year mark the Honor and Remember Flag is still in its cocoon, waiting to burst onto the national scene. I have to keep reminding myself that there are many stories clamoring for the public’s attention: A new administration in Washington, the dire condition of our economy, the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and other international hotspots. Sometimes I feel that American is so buried in bad news that it forgets to think about the good things that make us a great nation, one of which is the dedication of our military men and women around the world, who stand on the front lines, fighting for our freedom and security.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that the men and women who gave their all for America deserve special recognition by all Americans. Yet it seems that idea gets pushed aside by the weight of current events. We must not let that happen. Every day we need to be appreciative of their sacrifice. That’s why a monument or a holiday isn’t enough. We need an ever-present tribute that can be seen nationally, recognized and accessible to everyone, visibly and silently carrying the message of remembrance to everyone. The Honor and Remember Flag is meant to be a national thank you card from a grateful nation.

I have consistently stated that there are two important questions burning in the hearts of families of the fallen: Was their sacrifice in vain? Will my child be forgotten? My answer is that as long as the American flag flies freely above our land, no individual loss will ever have been in vain. And as long as the Honor and Remember Flag is publicly displayed, no sacrifice will ever be forgotten.

This month I want to focus on the mission of personalized flags.  It is our charitable goal to facilitate the gifting of specially made personalized Honor and Remember Flags, one to each family that has suffered the heart wrenching sacrifice of losing their child. We want to specifically honor each hero individually by name and not just those lost in one conflict or war, but every life lost and every living parent we can touch. This is not an easy mission, as we must emotionally connect every day with moms and dads with incredible stories of their sons and daughters. Remembrance is what we all yearn for and only good can come of pursuing it.

Here are a few amazing stories of families who were recently honored.

March 14th
Staff member Tom Leisher at a special “Remember the Fallen” rally in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, presented to Mrs. Barb Bernard an Honor and Remember Flag in tribute to her son SFC Brent A. Adams, who was killed in Iraq December 1, 2005.

March 21
At a ceremony celebrating its 90th anniversary, American Legion McKinley Post 76 in Sebring, Ohio, held a special Honor and Remember Flag presentation for Carey Meissner, the mother of Marine Lance Corporal Danny McVickers, who was killed in Iraq on Oct. 6, 2005. To read the story CLICK HERE.

March 28th
I was privileged to present flags to Mrs. Hershberger and Mrs. Bourgeois in honor of their sons at a wounded warrior 5k event in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Sgt. David Hershberger was serving in Vietnam when he lost his life January 10, 1968. US Navy Seal Matthew Bourgeois was serving in Afghanistan and was killed March 28, 2002. It was an extreme honor to present to these special mothers in the presence of more than 1000 participants.

March 31
At a local Vietnam Veterans meeting, Mrs. Claire Atherden, 89, received a personalized flag in honor of her son LCpl. Lester Atherden, who died  March 4, 1966 in Vietnam. She had three Marine Corps sons who gave years of service for our country.  Lester gave the final measure.

April 6
Gold Star father Carl Dozier was presented a personalized flag in honor of his son Jonathan K. Dozier, killed January 9th, 2008. The presentation was facilitated by the Chesapeake Mayors Commission on Military Affairs. This was a surprise presentation honoring Mr. Dozier for the enormity of his loss and for his son’s giving all he had for our ultimate freedom.

April 10
Spc. Aaron Genevie was honored with a special service in his memory and in public recognition for his mother Patty Genevie in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Aaron was killed April 16, 2007 in Iraq when the Humvee he was riding in hit an improvised explosive device. Read a newspaper account of this presentation. CLICK HERE

It is our desire and organizational goal that every family that lost a son or daughter in military service to our country should have a personalized flag. Regardless of the era, even as far back as Korea, we are working on that task. Each flag proudly represents a special life lost and complements the hundreds of thousands that will one day fly across this nation in grateful respect.

Honor and Remember has received hundreds of individual requests for personalized flags for families who have lost a loved one. However, we don’t currently have the resources to meet this need, since we do not charge for the personalized flags. Giving them in gratitude is part of our mission.

Our growing list can be daunting. That’s why we need individuals, organizations, churches and companies to partner and network with us. Identifying hurting families that should be honored with the gift of an Honor and Remember Flag and publicly recognized for the sacrifice they have made and reassured that their loved one is not forgotten. Anyone can easily sponsor a flag and arrange a presentation. Lets not let busyness or apathy get in the way of making a difference in the immediate lives of those who carry the burden of loss every day.

Please consider reaching out to a family in your community who has suffered such a life changing loss by sponsoring a flag in their honor. Contact us and we will help you with the process of organizing and conducting a respectful short ceremony. If you do not know of any deserving families in your area, let us know. We can help identify a family near you. There are heroes across this country that need to be individually remembered. Thank you for your continued support.

Blessings,
George


  Our Hero’s Story – RaNae Vaughn
My son, Sgt. Jason W. Vaughn, was killed in action in Iraq on May 10, 2007.  I am writing in response to your request for information about the young men and women who have died serving their country.

Jason was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on October 31, 1977.  He died May 10, 2007, in Old Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.  Jay was on his second tour of duty.  He was assigned to the Army’s 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington.  He was 29 years old.

Jason’s greatest attribute may have been his kind heart.  He was always considerate of the needs of his friends and family. He frequently offered advice, and would gladly give you his last dollar if he thought you needed it more than he did.  Jay displayed maturity and insight far beyond his years.  He loved to hang out with friends, read, watch TV and play video games. He was a handsome man on the outside and, more importantly, on the inside.  Jason had a great appreciation for life.

We will always remember his smile, bear hugs, love of life, positive attitude and his way of making everyone around him feel special.  Jason will live on in our hearts and minds forever.  We miss him daily.

RaNae Vaughn
Proud Mother of Sgt. Jason W. Vaughn, KIA 10 May 2007

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300 – 400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.

*** Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Karen Gleason  
Several months back, a good friend of mine invited me to a local restaurant where he had an “Honor and Remember” table set up.  He said he wanted to show me this “new” flag that would recognize our fallen heroes and asked me to sign a petition that would help do just that and be a part of history!

Well, being from a military family ~ my father, three brothers and husband all served in the Marine Corp and my niece, nephews and son-in-law are all currently serving ~ my curiosity was peeked.  A new flag I thought?  Really?

Don Belew explained the concept behind the Honor and Remember Flag, where every fallen soldier throughout every war and conflict in American history would be nationally recognized and given their due honor and respect for their ultimate sacrifice, their life.  I thought, “Wow, why hasn’t this happened already?”  All of us either have a family member, friend or co-worker in the military, and at any given time we can be affected by the loss of their fallen soldier.  Once you recognize and grab hold of that reality, you have no choice in the matter but to say, “How can I help. What can I do?”

My heart goes out to the families that have experienced such a loss.  All that I can do now to show my gratitude is to be a part of the process that helps to nationally recognize and honor and remember their lives and sacrifice.  I have been privileged enough to see Gold Star mothers receive their child’s personalized flag.  They clutch their flag and hold it tightly against their heart.  It seems as if it brings a sense of healing to their hurting hearts.

God Bless our fallen hero’s and their families.

 
Recent News and Comments

On May first, by unanimous decision the mayor and city council of Virginia Beach, Virginia, officially endorsed the Honor and Remember Flag, as an official symbol recognizing all lives lost in military service to our nation. The resolution also endorsed Congressional bill HR 1034, which seeks to nationally endorse the flag. Thank you to City Councilman Bill DeSteph for his leadership.

The state of Pennsylvania has a resolution on it legislative docket with 59 co-sponsors to recognize and endorse the Honor and Remember Flag. Additionally Virgina is drafting a Bill also to adopt. Other cities have also adopted resolutions, including Orrstown and Lancaster. Please continue to reach out to you local and state governments.

On April 28, George appeared on the Tony Macrini Show on WNIS radio in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. George and Tony talked about the origin of the Honor and Remember Flag and the progress of the campaign. Callers to the show included a number of Gold Star mothers who had received their personalized flags. Former congresswoman Thelma Drake, who introduced flag legislation in the 110th Congress, also called in to congratulate George on the progress of the campaign to get the flag nationally recognized.

RECENT COMMENTS

As a military mom of three boys, I believe the government should recognize this flag for our fallen loved ones. I am sorry to hear about your son’s passing but know in your heart he believed in what he was doing. Belgrade, MT

This is a great idea to have a flag for the servicemen who were killed in action. There are flags for MIAs and POWs. Why not a flag for the ones who were killed in the line of duty? They are the ones who fought for our freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice! Contact your representative and get this bill passed! Arden, NC

I wholeheartedly support this campaign. I love the design on this flag and all that it represents. My only son was killed on Fathers Day of 2007 in Afghanistan. I will fly this flag beneath our American flag that he so proudly served. Vinton, LA

I am an Iraqi Freedom veteran (2003-2004). I have always tried to thank fellow veterans of previous conflicts, and to thank any active duty service member that is serving today. I cannot thank enough those that gave their lives fighting for and preserving our freedoms that we cherish today. This flag symbolizes our gratitude for those fallen heroes. God Speed and God Bless! Florence, MA

I was watching the news and saw this flag. This is so AWESOME and I want EVERY government agency to adopt and fly this flag. What a wonderful way to continually acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice that our military man and women have made. Newport News, VA

I wanted to thank you for sending me this information regarding the Honor and Remember Flag. I am a Gulf War vet who is disabled. I hope this message reaches around the country. God Bless our veterans and troops. I will be passing this information out to everyone I know. Indianapolis, IN

 

 

Honor and Remember Dispatch – April 2009, Vol 2 Issue 4

  Founder’s Message  – Kevin Baker

Among the many accomplishments this month for Honor and Remember, we reached two significant milestones, when the Virginia cities of Chesapeake and Norfolk officially endorsed and adopted the Honor and Remember flag by resolution. It is our hope that city by city and state by state supporters across America will encourage their leaders to adopt similar resolutions. With local endorsements we will continue to build the grassroots support necessary to create national attention and gain final approval of bill HR 1034 now before Congress.

March was a significant month for Honor and Remember, yet great success was accompanied by extreme sadness. Last month, we featured Kevin Baker, our friend and disabled Gulf War veteran. He was beginning a 2400-mile trek on a hand-powered bicycle to carry the Honor and Remember around the country. His hope was to create national awareness by visiting small towns along his route and by stopping at the Capitol and the White House in hopes of garnering awareness and support. Kevin began his journey on Saturday, March 7 with very little fanfare but with a determination and passion few of us have ever experienced. Kevin’s story was posted in our last newsletter in the “Why I’m on Board.” section.
Kevin proceeded as planned, gaining attention from local media along his route. His initial interview appeared in the Norman Dispatch in Oklahoma and later on KXII Newsin Dallas. As you would expect, he met many new friends, including several state troopers who pulled him over just to check him out. Kevin was loved by everyone who knew him and he left a positive impression on the many lives he touched.On March 13, just six days into his ride, Kevin passed away. Local friends had picked him up when the weather turned cold, and he was hoping to continue from a more southern route in Louisiana. He enjoyed a normal day, had dinner, watched television and went to sleep. He never woke up. Kevin had overcome enormous physical obstacles since his injury in 1992, including a severe head injury, seizures and even lymphoma. In the end, his passion for his mission far outweighed any selfish considerations.Kevin and I talked every day prior to his journey. Each conversation began with a countdown until his scheduled start. He was as enthusiastic as I have ever seen anyone and very childlike in his excitement. He literally gave his life for the Honor and Remember Flag campaign. There are no words to bring him back, but he followed a dream with a purpose few of us can imagine. We remember him with the same honor and respect he so freely extended to his fellow veterans, both living and deceased. We will be making a special presentation to his mother and his friends at a planned ceremony on June 19 at the Illinois Freedom Runin Marseilles, IL.I continue to thank you all for what you are doing to make continuous national remembrance for our fallen military heroes a reality. Please read my blog to get more significant details on the many lives touched in month of March.


God Bless,
George

  Our Hero’s Story – Patti Bager
I think the Honor and Remember Flag and what it stands for is a wonderful and long overdue tribute to all the fallen soldiers and the families they have left behind.  The military often does an emotionally charged tribute at the funeral of the fallen hero, with the flag, the honor guard, the gun salute, etc. But very quickly the community that rallied behind the family to show their support returns to life as normal, while the family left behind struggles to cope with such an enormous loss.Does the pain ever really end?  We lost our son, Captain Robert Bager, in 2005 at the age of 25.  He suffered a horrific injury in a railhead accident en route to a training mission in Germany, just after returning safely from a tour in Baghdad, Iraq, with the First Armored Division. He was medivacked to Brooke Army Medical Center and ultimately lost his battle to live after three and a half months in the Burn ICU.  We were by his side every moment of his valiant fight to live.Sometimes, in their zeal to keep war casualty numbers to a minimum, the military forgets about the many young men and women who lose their lives on their way to or from the battlefronts or in training accidents. Though not in the actual battle zones, these are nevertheless dangerous situations. My son is no less a hero than any of those who lost their lives elsewhere. He served our nation with pride and honor, and yet he and many others who died while serving remain unrecognized, except by those who knew them personally.So I want to thank you and your group for honoring ALL those who lost their lives serving our country. We will all grieve their loss forever.NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300 – 400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality, a celebration of their life and experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember.

*** Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Mike McQueen  
I believe the purpose of the Honor and Remember flag is to remind a complacent public that there is a reason the American flag still flies. It is the members of our active duty military and our military veterans, as well as their parents, wives, husbands and family members, who have fought for our nation and made the sacrifices to keep us free. The Honor and Remember Flag is a tangible reminder of the men and women who gave their lives so that Old Glory, the flag they fought for, would keep flying.That’s why I ask all veterans groups and associations to support the Honor and Remember cause. That support can come in many forms. You can encourage your Congressional representatives to get behind a bill that is now before Congress (HR 1034) to adopt the flag as a national symbol. You can tell your friends about the cause and encourage them to make a personal donation or become a corporate sponsor. One day, we will see the Honor and Remember flag flying in its rightful place below the flag of the United States of America as a constant reminder of the shed blood, lives lost and prices paid to keep the Stars and Stripes at the top of the pole. I am also actively trying to get my state of Texas to adopt the Honor and Remember flag as an approved symbol, so that it will fly along with our state flag.Why do we need the Honor and Remember flag? Doesn’t the American flag serve the same purpose? No. The only other nationally recognized flag is the POW/MIA flag, which relates specifically to prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action from the Vietnam War. Yes, there are other service flags that represent various branches of the military, but there is no national symbol that speaks for all military servicemen and servicewoman who gave their lives for America. The American flag is our national emblem, the symbol of our country. It is the flag those brave men and women died for. It is the flag their loved ones received at their memorial service, to be kept folded in a case, as a tribute to that individual life lost. The Honor and Remember flag is meant to be flown! The red field of the Honor and Remember flag honors the red stripes in the American flag, which stand for valor. The Honor and Remember flag is a statement that millions of Americans have stood together for a single cause, under a single banner to protect the concepts of freedom and democracy, and that some have given their all. Thank you… MM


RECENT COMMENTS

I am a Gold Star Mom and lost my son Sgt Robert Daniel Rogers in 2007 he served in Itay and died in a black hawk crash along 5 others. We are honored to have the gold star family license plate but how wonderful for my 6 year old grandson to actually have a flag honoring his fallen dad. God bless you thank you and God bless America.  Sierra Vista, AZ

First of all let me say thank you for what you are doing, there are no words to express what this means to all of us. We have all lost friends and family serving in our great military and for this flag flying high means the world. once again thank you. Virginia Beach, VA


I was watching the news and saw this flag. This is so AWESOME and I want EVERY government agency to adopt and fly this flag. What a wonderful way to continually acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice that our military man and women have made.   Newport News, VA

Thank you for designing this flag! It represents everything that it’s meaning stands for…the fallen warriors of all wars and times. We never want our son (Sgt John E Allen, KIA 17March 2007), or any other son or daughter, to be forgotten. He stood and fought for our freedoms, unselfishly, just like all of the other fallen warriors. He was a wonderfully, artistic soul. A Medic with the 2-12 Cav, 1st Division, out of Ft. Bliss…. he loved his job until the end! May God Bless you, George, for working so hard to get this done!  Palmdale, CA

 

Honor and Remember Dispatch – March 2009, Vol 2 Issue 3

  Founder’s Message  – Bill H.R. 1034

A quick update on the month. February was a month of continued momentum. Of the most significant, on February 13th I was privileged to present personalized flags to two very special Gold Star moms; Mrs. Barbara Calfee in honor of her son, PFC Jack W. Calfee, who was killed in Vietnam in June 1st 1968. And, to Mrs. Emogene Cupp  in honor of her son, Cpl. Robert W. Cupp, also killed in Vietnam one week apart, June 6th 1968. Flags were presented amongst their peers at a national Gold Star mother’s BOD meeting. I wish there were more than words to express the emotion of a moment like this. Forty years later we specifically call attention to the honor due these fallen heroes. We continue to march forward taking up the challenge of remembering each military warrior individually by name.This was also the month that Randy Forbes re-introduced the Honor and Remember Bill in the House of Representatives, HR 1034. During my visit to Capitol Hill I was told that the bill is now in the Judiciary committee and with bi-partisan support from Bobby Scott, Rep from Virginia . We are extremely hopeful that we will soon see the bill reach the house floor. Also kudos to Sen Richard Burr from North Carolina as he is considering introducing similar legislation on the Senate side. We ask that you continue to write your congress and senate representatives. You can do this easily by clicking on this web site and sending them an email, an example can be found in our “Share the Vision” section:

writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

Lastly I want to introduce you to Kevin Baker, a disabled gulf war veteran who has started on an amazing journey across the country on a bicycle. Without giving anything away you may read his story below and follow his progress on our website. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he tests the limits of his physical ability in re cognition of Veteran’s issues and in remembrance of our fallen.

Thank you to all who continue to share our vision wherever you go.

God Bless
George


  Our Hero’s Story – Tracy Bissonnette
My 19-year-old son, Pfc. Brian Moquin was killed along with nine fellow soldiers on May 5, 2006 in Afghanistan when their helicopter crashed during combat operations in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was my only child.I recently received an email from the Gold Star Mothers organization regarding your petition for the Honor and Remember Flag. First, I would like to express how very sorry I am for the loss of your son. It will be three years for me this May and  I know exactly how you feel. There is no greater loss than that of a child.

As I was reading your words, it was like rereading the same words that I have written many times myself. I worry that my son’s legacy will fade away in the minds of others. For me, that would be like mourning two deaths. An unbearable thought. Without hesitation, I signed your petition and also printed out the PDF version to have at my son’s third annual memorial Ride and Benefit, coming up on May 16th. I hope to get many signatures for your cause!

Since my son’s death, my goal has been to honor his memory and the memory of others by holding many benefits to raise money in scholarship funds for students where Brian attended school and also to donate to various veterans programs. This year we chose the Massachusetts Veterans Inc.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country, so that we can share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300 – 400 words in length and share some insights that capture the individual’s personality, a celebration of their life and experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember.

*** Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Kevin Baker  
My name is Kevin George Baker and I live in Norman, Oklahoma.  I was in the Navy for almost four years.  I served aboard the USS Hewitt DD-966 and was injured during the Persian Gulf War.  I was assigned to firefighting in Kuwait, when a Scud missile hit our barracks. My injuries have left me neurological problems that have confined me to a wheelchair.On March 7, I began riding my hand-crank bicycle from Norman, Oklahoma to Washington D.C., then to Marseilles, Illinois and I will be flying the Honor and Remember Flag on my bike during the entire trip. I want people to see the flag and realize what it stands for. Perhaps our new president and the members of Congress will see me and realize that this is the flag that is being proposed as our national symbol to recognize the sacrifice of men and women who died in military service to America. Then I will meet up with Soldiers’ Angels, a support organization for United States military personnel, and will ride with a group of them to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

During my trip, I’m hoping to take a couple of days off so that I can visit my mother and grandparents in Danville, Virginia and go to the Danville Veterans Park, where there is a nice memorial and where I hope to have a long chat with my grandpa, who is a decorated WWII veteran. I also plan to pass through Virginia Beach so that I can visit with George Lutz, the founder of Honor and Remember.

My final destination is Marseilles, Illinois, where I’ll visit the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial, which is dedicated to military service members who died since 1979, including casualties from the Persian Gulf War and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of a Gold Star family will transport me home to Oklahoma.

I’ve decided to call my effort the Ride of Pride Across America. I am proud to include the Honor and Remember Flag as part of my ride. I’m looking forward to answering the questions I will g et from people about the flag and explaining to young and old how it signifies the greatest sacrifice a person can make for their country. Kevin B.

  Recent News


Honor and Remember has recently been given the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Here is the resolution that is making its way through their channels:

NATIONAL FLAG TO HONOR AND REMEMBER
THOSE WHO DIED WHILE SERVING IN AMERICA’S MILITARY


WHEREAS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States honors the service and sacrifice of all military service members, especially those who have lost their lives in service to the nation; and

WHEREAS, there has never been an officially recognized symbol that serves as a daily visible reminder for those who made the ultimate sacrifice; and

WHEREAS, an “Honor and Remember” flag has been created as a daily reminder for the American public to acknowledge the ultimate price of freedom; and

WHEREAS, the “Honor and Remember” flag will recognize, not only those killed in action during war, but all service members who died in the line of duty; and

WHEREAS, this flag will serve as a symbol of national gratitude, value each American life given for our freedom, and give comfort to the families who lost a loved one during military service; now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, that we support legislation to establish a national flag to honor and remember all who gave their lives in military service to this nation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Congress to adopt the flag created by the Honor and Remember organization to serve as the national flag.

I think this is a wonderful site. I just found out about this today and will research it more and be glad to support this cause. My father was a 3 time Vietnam Vet and I have a brother in law in Kuwait on his second tour right now. I appreciate seeing others support our men and woman that fight so courageously for our country and they deserve all the recognition they can get. Panama City, FL

RECENT COMMENTS

What an awesome visual of remembering my son, Cpl. Jeremiah Johnson and for all of those who see this beautiful flag flying. Can hardly wait to order mine! Vancouver, WA


I whole heartedly support this campaign. I love the design on this flag and all that it represents. My only son was killed on Fathers Day of 2007 in Afghanistan. I will fly this flag beneath our American flag that he so proudly served. It is a great tribute to those that have lost their lives for our protection and our rights. ” They gave their today’s….for our tomorrows ” They are the TRUE HEROES OF AMERICA Proud mother of: SFC John Michael Hennen 1-9-1981 KIA 6-17-2007 Afghanistan.  Vinton, LA

I served under the U.S. flag for 28 years in the US Navy and feel this effort is very noble. All veterans should add their support.  Quitman, GA

 

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