| Honor and Remember achieved three monumental accomplishments this last month that have propelled us further toward our goals. I am amazed and humbled by how quickly important events have fallen into place in recent weeks.At 10 a.m. on Friday, September 26th, I was honored to attend a meeting of the American Gold Star Mothers National Executive Board. Needless to say, the meeting was emotionally overwhelming for all who were present. After I shared the vision for the Honor and Remember Flag, its symbolism and our organization’s ultimate goals, the board gave us their unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement.In keeping with our charitable mission, I presented to the president of the board, Mrs Carter-Krell, a personalized flag in honor of her son, Pfc. Bruce Carter, who was killed in Vietnam in 1969. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that day. In addition, executive board member Mrs. Morel also received a personalized flag in honor or her son, Cpt. Brent Morel, killed in Iraq in 2004.This is what our primary mission is all about, bringing individual honor and national recognition to each individual life that was sacrificed in service to our country. My heart breaks that these are the circumstances that bring me to meet such great people. But we will push through the heartache and emotion and give tribute to each one.
Simultaneous with that meeting, across town on Capital Hill, House of Representative’s members Thelma Drake and Randy Forbes were introducing H.R. 7111 – A bill establishing the Honor and Remember Flag as a new national symbol.
Truly this was an historic occasion, as four months to the day from our unveiling of the the H&R Flag on May 26th we now have legislation in the congressional record awaiting a vote.
The third important milestone we achieved was the receipt of official IRS approval of our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. This is extremely important to us as an organization and will enable us to openly seek sponsorships and donations. Receiving approval from the IRS was a timely miracle since this process generally takes six to nine months.
Everyday we gain additional veterans support from around the country, with national endorsements from the Fleet Reserve Association and the American Gold Star Mothers, more such groups are in line to join them. We continue to gain momentum as more local branches come on board. The VFW, American Legion, Military Officers Association, the Vietnam Veterans and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) are all joining us in this mission. Please continue to get the word out to any organizations you may be affiliated with whether these or similar groups, encouraging all to join the campaign.
Honor and Remember is truly a grassroots movement that will enable America to have a tangible symbol which recognize its fallen heroes 365 days a year. Thank you.
| Latest News in Brief
| George will be featured on the national radio show “The Small Business Advocate” hosted by Jim Blasingame on October 7th at 7 a.m. You can listen by visiting the web site:
www.smallbusinessadvocate.com/content/features/listen.shtmlHR will be attending the AUSA convention in Washington, D.C. on October 6th through 8th ,seeking support.George will be the Grand Marshall of the Veteran’s Alliance golf tournament on October 9th in Norfolk.
www.unitedveteransalliance.com/events.htmOn October 12th, 10am, HR will honor the family members of the sailors killed in the suicide attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Seventeen personalized Honor and Remember Flags have been created, one for each of the seaman lost on that terrible day. This will actually be the first year that the USS Cole will be in port at the Norfolk Naval Base on the anniversary of the attack.
The Southeastern Virginia Mustang club is organizing a car show/fundraiser for Honor and Remember on October 18th.
| Why I’m on Board – CPT Christopher Floro
|As a chaplain I have the privilege of walking and standing on the sacred ground of the lives of many soldiers and their families. This ground includes the myriad life and death experiences that uniquely allow a deep look into the often indescribable pain of the human soul. It is the calling that God has put on my life and it is a high calling – one not to be taken lightly or given up easily.The place that I now stand and walk on with the Lutz family began in the summer of 2005, when I first met Cpl. “Tony” Lutz, his wife Tiffany and their beautiful children, Anthony and Ava, at their pre-deployment training. Young, happy, scared, devoted were all words I might use to describe them and all the families there that day. For Tony and me, our sacred ground included New Orleans, Louisiana, in support of Hurricane Katrina, training in the “cool” desert of 29 Palms, California, and then several combat missions into Fallujah and the surrounding area in mid to late December of 2005.Tony’s Tactical Psychological Operations Team (TPT) was the last team I visited in Iraq prior to coming back to the United States. I returned on Christmas Eve and was notified on 29 Dec that Tony had been killed by a sniper in Fallujah. A few days later I found myself standing and walking on sacred ground with the Lutz family as we stayed up late into the night talking and grieving. My time with them included Tony’s memorial ceremony, funeral and many visits and phone calls.It is now the fall of 2008, nearly three years since Tony paid the ultimate price for his country, and his family continues to walk and stand on sacred ground that is shared with over 1.6 million other families in our country’s history. George (Tony’s dad) and I talk and pray often over what the loss of his son means, not just personally, but to our nation. What one sees in the Honor and Remember organization and flag is in a very substantial way that embodies what all parents of fallen service members desire – “that my son or daughter’s loss was not in vain and that they are honored and remembered for their sacrifice.”
As a country we must be unrelenting in carrying the sacrifices of our past into the present and future. When we do not persevere in this, we begin to count lightly the cost of our nation’s greatest resource – its sons and daughters and the freedoms the living now enjoy. Most warriors and their organizations have an ethos or creed from which they draw guidance and inspiration and the United States Army is no different. One of the statements in the Army’s Soldier’s Creed states, “I will never leave a fallen comrade.” For a soldier the clear application of those words is understood to mean that on the battlefield we will not leave a fallen soldier behind.
I believe that the Honor and Remember flag seeks, and rightly so, to apply that ethos on a visible, national level for all who have died in service for our great nation. Not leaving behind a fallen comrade then expands and includes honoring and remembering all of our service members’ sacrifices since our nation’s beginning. The parents, spouses, children and friends of our fallen continue to remember, honor and walk daily with the reality of the “sacred ground” of their fallen. I choose to walk and stand with them on that sacred ground – that’s why I’m on board. Can our nation do any less? Chris