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)
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.;
Flag sponsorship – personalized and state flags;
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the continued support.
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 email@example.com
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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!
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.
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