Gold Star father, George Lutz, is a man on a mission. He wants to ensure that all American soldiers killed in battle are honored with a national flag to serve as a visible reminder of their sacrifice.
While there is a flag to commemorate prisoners of war and those missing in action, there has never been a flag to recognize the fallen. Lutz’s “Honor and Remember” movement is dedicated to filling that void.
The impetus for Lutz’s cause was the devastating news he received in December of 2005. Just days after Christmas, while on patrol in Fallujah, Iraq, a sniper shot and killed his son, Pfc. George Anthony Lutz II. After months of grieving, Lutz designed the “Honor and Remember” flag and embarked on a campaign to have the flag recognized as a national symbol of remembrance.
“After my son was killed I went on a search to understand how the public remembered our fallen military men and women,” Lutz told The Daily Caller. “I was looking for some way that the American people said thank you. It is just the way parents feel in a situation where if they can’t have their loved one back, they want people to appreciate the fact that their healthy, young, educated son, daughter, husband, wife did something for a grateful nation. ”
In February 2009, Virginia Republican Rep. Randy Forbes introduced a bill aimed at fulfilling Lutz’s goal, H.R. 1034, “To amend title 36, United States Code, to designate the Honor and Remember flag created by Honor and Remember, Inc., as an official symbol to recognize and honor members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty, and for other purposes.” To date, the bill has garnered 20 co-sponsors. The House has since relegated it to the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
While stuck in the cogs of a slow federal government, Lutz has taken to pushing for acceptance on a state by state basis, slowly making progress toward a day when all 50 states recognize and fly the flag high. To date, at least four states have officially adopted Lutz’s flag: Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Delaware. There are an additional twenty states with legislation pending.
This summer, Lutz has packed up a motorhome and is driving to every state capitol in America to advocate for each state’s recognition of the flag. He started on Memorial Day and will be on the road until Veterans Day in November, where he will complete his journey at Arlington National Cemetery. “I’ve travelled through 32 states so far. I’m in Boise, Idaho right now,” Lutz said. “I’ve been travelling by myself from state capitol to state capitol. It will be about 5 months on the road. My wife is with me right now, but only for a short while.”
To Lutz, our fallen still do not receive all the honor they deserve. “I realized what America generally believes is that when we lose somebody we are going to remember them on Memorial Day,” Lutz said. “And I just didn’t think that was fair, that we get to live under the freedoms everyday, but most of us only think to remember once a year. So I thought that a tangible symbol that represented a thank you and a bit of gratitude would be a good thing for this nation, so that we recognize that freedom comes at a price.”
Lutz’s goal is not just to have every state recognize and adopt the flag, but also to present them to the families of fallen warriors. “I hope eventually we will be able to honor every family and give them one of these flags.”
The practical aspects of traveling to each state in the union has its own difficulties. “We can use all the support we can get,” Lutz said. “One of the things right now we are looking at is the transmission on the RV went out and that is going to cost us about four grand to fix, so that is something that is holding us back and it will definitely hurt, but it wont stop us.”
“It is so important for us to keep going and work for us to continue to push for this,” Lutz continued. If the determination in his voice is anything to go by, Lutz will see that flag recognized nationally before all is said and done. To help his cause got to honorandremember.org
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