George Lutz, founder of Honor and Remember, Inc., a Chesapeake, Virginia based charitable giving organization, recently posed a question to the nation. Like most who hear it for the first time, we expected the answer would be a simple one.
For him and his organization, which actively recognizes those veterans (and their families) who died in defense of freedom for their country, the question could not be any more relevant… or poignant. No one else could have sought an answer for so legitimate a purpose than George, who is, himself, the father of a fallen hero.
National Public Radio captured his story, the audio version of which can be heard by visiting A Virginia Soldier Dies in Iraq. Yet, out of that horrific event, just four days after Christmas 2005, Honor and Remember, Inc. would be conceived, and it has not stopped for so much as one breath since.
The organization recently partnered with Run for the Fallen. They will host their first run together this coming October, in Arizona.
George’s greatest personal achievement, however, has been due to the creation of the Honor and Remember flag, conceived just months after his son’s passing, largely because it fulfills the missions of the organization and affords him the opportunity to do what he feels he must: meet the suffering families and give them something to honor their beloved, fallen heroes. It may seem like a mere token, but it is received by the families as a profoundly meaningful reminder that America will never forget them, their service or their sacrifice.
On February 12, 2009, Virginia Congressman J. Randy Forbes introduced House Bill 1034 to seek federal recognition for the flag as a national symbol of a grieving, yet grateful nation. Since March 2010, when Virginia designated the symbolic flag as the Commonwealth’s emblem of the service and sacrifice by the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have given their lives in the line of duty, 19 states have officially adopted her; the other 31 have either endorsed it or are in the process.
In the nearly nine years since his son’s passing, George has accomplished so much: touching countless lives, traveling to nearly every state, presenting thousands of flags and succeeding in getting his message heard; but make no mistake, he’s the first to recognize the fact he could not have done it (and cannot do it) without the love and support of so many people throughout the country, including comedian Dennis Miller, who has been featuring George on The Dennis Miller Show for years.
This year, in commemoration of the Fifth Anniversary Family Event honoring the very special “Gold Star” families, Dennis will again be right by George’s side, but this time, he’ll be the guest.
While he vigilantly maintains the “Taps” section of the organization’s website, posting the latest armed forces casualties practically as they occur, George still doesn’t know the name of the very first person to lose his or her life in the line of duty for the cause of American freedom. It’s a simple question which turns out to have a not-so-simple answer, if one could even ever be assured, but that’s precisely the reason we need your help.
Please feel free to use this blog platform to submit your comments, questions or responses to his question. Given the criterion that the individual must have died in the line of duty, the beginning dates will likely fall somewhere on the dateline between April 19, 1775, the official commencement of the War for Independence, and July 4, 1776; although some may argue the validity of dates qualifying as early as September 1774, when the Patriot Suffolk Resolves effectively abolished the legal government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
It will be for you (and your research) to establish and support the date you submit. Hopefully others will respond to it. The goal is to turn a mortuary of barely evolving thought into a think tank for rapid-fire brainstorming and sustain a serious, robust discussion until a name – the name – emerges.
[N.B. inquiries at all interest levels are welcomed, but Because this is an attempt to arrive at an official disposition, all serious responses should be documented. Anyone may respond to any submission, inquiry or comment, and all potential responders should be included, so please kindly forward this page with our gratitude to all with a possible interest and/or relevant base of knowledge.]