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:
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.
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.
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/