The Honor and Remember Dispatch is devoted to keeping you informed about milestones, events and stories associated with the Honor and Remember National Flag Campaign.
This is the first edition of the H&R Dispatch. My intention in creating this newsletter was to provide a way to communicate with everyone who has visited the Honor and Remember website and signed the petition. Once a month we will keep you informed on the exciting events associated with the ongoing progress of the Honor and Remember Flag Campaign.
If our organization is new to you please read our mission statement.
Since this is the inaugural issue of this newsletter, we have sent it to everyone who is part of the Honor and Remember database. If you do not wish to continue receiving the H&R Dispatch, please click on the unsubscribe link and you will be removed from the list.
We are still in the very early stages of seeking official recognition for the flag and getting it into the hands of all living parents of men and women who have died in service to our nation. Nevertheless, there are already great stories to tell about how people are getting on board and promoting the Honor and Remember Flag in their spheres of influence.
We officially launched the Honor and Remember Flag on Memorial Day May 26, 2008 at a ceremony at the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. The event was covered by all three local network affiliate TV news stations. Our special guest was Congresswoman Thelma Drake, who has indicated that she will support our efforts to get the flag recognized by Congress and will be working on legislation.
We continue to gain support from many individuals, businesses and organizations from around the country. Veterans in particular are joining the cause daily and spreading the word. Although no national endorsement at this time we have unquestioned support from the FRA, American Legion, VFW, Vietnam Veterans, AFSPA, USO and the Patriot Guard riders to highlight a few.
Getting to this point has been an enormous task. We have had to: draft our articles of incorporation and bylaws in order to apply for our 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization; develop marketing materials and a web site; locate a manufacturer for the flag and other related products and get the word out to the media and everyone else who would listen. I am so grateful and humbled by the generous spirit of so many who have donated time and expenses in each of these phases of our launch.
I want to say a special thank you to our manufacturer, US Flag and Signal in Portsmouth, Virginia. They have not only worked with us to create an outstanding hand-sewn version of the Honor and Remember Flag, but also have demonstrated an incredibly generous spirit in their offer to work with us as we get the flag campaign off the ground. Also Vanguard industries has generously guided us in the production of ancillary products such as hats and shirts. Additionally, we have a web presence because of the excellence, dedication and tireless work ethic of Newbourne WebSolutions. Visit our supporter link for more details.
Our flags and other items are available now for purchase at our website.
Finally, I want to encourage you to remain a part of the Honor and Remember family. Regardless of what brought you to the website initially, I’d like to invite you to stay involved as we move toward our goals. If you have a story to tell relating to the Honor and Remember Flag or a dedication to a fallen loved one or friend or you just want to express your thoughts about what our fighting forces mean to you, please visit the website and participate in our blog or email me your story for possible inclusion in this newsletter.
If you are a Gold Star parent, and you haven’t done so already, please contact me. It is our goal, through sales, sponsorships and donations to eventually place one personalized flag in the hands of all living sets of parents.
On June 20th the Honor and Remember Flag was unfurled by the Patriot Guard Riders for the fist time to honor a fallen hero, Lt. Jeremy S. Wise, at his memorial service at Oceana Air Base, Virginia Beach, Virginia. We were honored to have conveyed sincere condolences to Jeremy’s family and friends. The nation will never forget his sacrifice.
On June 21st at the Branch 5 Norfolk chapter meeting of the Fleet Reserve Association, the group voted to conduct a fundraiser in order to present every family of those who died aboard the USS COLE with a personalized hand-sewn Honor and Remember Flag. When they are finished, the flags will be presented at a ceremony on the anniversary date of the October 12, 2000 terrorist attack.
On July 3rd, the Honor and Remember Flag flew in its first public venue at Harbor Park, the home stadium of the Norfolk Tides, a Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
At a July 4th concert in Hampton, Virginia, George had the opportunity to meet country music recording artist Darryl Worley. George and Darryl talked at length about the importance of supporting our troops and remembering those that sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom. Darryl has made several trips to both Afghanistan and Iraq. George learned that Darryl was in Fallujah the week that Tony was killed.
George Lutz has been interviewed by both local radio and television stations in Norfolk and on blogtalkradio.com.
Visit the following site to hear his interview on blogtalkradio:
George and I have been friends for more than 20 years. I watched his son Tony grow from a cute little kid into a fine young man. When I saw Tony’s picture on the front page of our local paper on that terrible December day in 2005, my heart sank and tears streamed down my face as I read about his death in Fallujah, Iraq.
Tony’s funeral was the most moving service I can remember. More than just a funeral, it was a celebration of a life that touched so many other lives. One after the other, Tony’s school friends and Army buddies shared their favorite memories of this special young man. Words failed me when I finally had a chance to speak to George, so we just hugged.
In the two and a half years since then, George and I have gone out to dinner and a movie on many occasions. Understandably, our conversation usually included talk of Tony and his wife and children. George shared with me that he was attending some military funerals in an effort to try to bring some comfort to families that were experiencing the same thing that he and Patty had gone through. In so doing, I believe he was also paying tribute to his son, honoring his memory by participating in services that honored other fallen warriors.
From those visits an idea was born. About five months ago, George told me that he thought that America should have a flag that served as a constant reminder of the military men and women who gave their life in service to their country. He did some research and talked with some elected officials and quickly realized that if such a symbol were ever going to become a reality, he would have to make it happen himself. When George asked me to serve on the board of a new organization that would create and promote this new national symbol, I said count me in.
My reason for being on board with (and on the board of) Honor and Remember, Inc. is simple: my friend lost his firstborn son and I could think of no better way to honor their sacrifice than to give my efforts to this worthy cause. Beyond that, however, being part of the Honor and Remember Flag movement has challenged me to think more deeply about my country and about the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
The young people serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other dangerous spots throughout the world deserve not only our support, but also our heartfelt honor. Regardless of what you may believe about our involvement in those countries, there is no doubt that the young Americans serving there are worthy of our utmost respect for putting their lives on the line. And for those who pay the ultimate price, we should do no less than to honor and remember them.
It is hard to believe but our unveiling was only two months ago and as of the publication of this newsletter July 25, 2008, there are over 3500 electronic signatures on the website and nearly 2000 hand-signed petitions. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please go to the website and do so. And if you can spread the word to your friends and relatives, you will help us build the groundswell we need to accomplish our mission.
Our slogan continues to be….
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag
There are many things you can do to help. If you haven’t signed the petition please do so now. If you don’t see the names of people you contacted, please follow up. We need one signature for every life lost in all military service, 1.6 million. Every individual name is important. Write to your representatives in Congress and state senators; call local and national talk shows; send information to your local papers; leave comments on internet blogs; post the website everywhere it makes sense. This campaign should be important to everyone in any walk of life in every state of this country. Lastly, fly the Honor and Remember Flag at your home, church, business, organization or military facility.
Our flags and other items are available now for purchase at our website: http://www.honorandremember.info/zcart/
One final note: although the Honor and Remember campaign is extremely important to most of us, it is not going to be readily accepted by everyone. If you are not met with the enthusiasm you anticipate when sharing the mission, please respect the attitude or decision of that individual. There are thousands of supporters throughout the country who believe the time has come for a tangible reminder of the sacrifice of those who died for our freedoms, and that the Honor and Remember Flag is the appropriate symbol. Thank you, George