Virginia Beach, Va. — The father of a soldier killed in Iraq has begun a cross country trek to gain support for the adoption of a symbol to recognize all Americans who have been killed in military service. The kickoff for the Honor and Remember Across America tour was held on the grounds of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University last weekend.
When George Lutz’s son Tony was killed in Iraq in 2005, he set out on a mission to ensure that his son’s sacrifice would never be forgotten.
“Two years ago on Memorial Day we launched this idea. A silly little idea that we needed to publicly remember our fallen,” Lutz said.
The loss inspired Lutz to design the Honor and Remember flag — which he hopes will one day fly in all 50 states as a tribute to American heroes.
It has already been adopted as official state symbols in Virginia and Oklahoma. Currently, nine other states have pending legislation to also adopt the flag.
Lutz’s mission has he sees it is to travel the country from coast to coast, sharing his message about fallen American heroes along the way.
“My initial goal across the country was to meet with governors and lawmakers in different states who could establish legislation, but also Gold Star families who have lost a loved one and be able to share the message with them to be able to touch their heart — show them the nation really does care that they want to remember,” he explained.
Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., was a key sponsor of a bill currently before the U.S. Congress designating the flag as a national symbol.
“I think that it’s great,” Forbes said. “Virginia is always a leader in so many areas and I think the governor made a great first step by letting other governors know how important this is and I think that will help the reception George will get when he travels around the nation.”
Lutz has also received support from local area businesses.
“Everybody was so thrilled and we were able to get all the Chic-fil-A’s in Hampton Roads, Va. on board, it was 23 total,” said Chic-Fil-A rep Scott Berry. “And it was just a thrill to see the money coming in and to write those check and to write that final check for $9,000.”
Families who have lost loved ones to war said a national symbol recognizing their sacrifices is long overdue.
Lutz’s tour will take him to at all of the state capitols and he will meet with families who loved ones died while in service to their country. He will end his 22,000 mile trip in Arlington National Cemetary, in Arlingtin, Va. on Nov.11, Veterans Day.
But until then there is much work to be done.
“That will be just the beginning, because once it becomes a national symbol, then it’s only flying,” Lutz said. “There’s still lives to be touched and people to be reached and that will be the continuation of the mission and I’ll do that the rest of my life.”