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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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