A Tale of Two Flags
In August 1990, Congress passed a law recognizing a flag that had been adopted by the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia—the “POW/MIA Flag,”—and designated it “as a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation.”
Prior to such legislation, the flag flew over the White House on the 1988 National POW/MIA Recognition Day and was installed the next year in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. This POW/MIA Flag is the only flag displayed in the Rotunda.
The flag is flown on six days of the year, including Memorial Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day on the grounds or the public lobbies of numerous federal and military installations.
The history of this flag started during the Vietnam War when Mary Hoff, the wife of a service member Missing in Action, recognized the need for a symbol to honor and represent U.S. prisoners of war and those missing in action.
Today, 40 years later, we come across another person on a similar mission.
His name is George Lutz and he is the father of Spec. George Anthony Lutz, who was fatally shot by a sniper’s bullet in Fallujah, Iraq, in December 2005.
Mr. Lutz’s mission:
To establish a tangible national symbol of gratitude, as a visible public reminder to all Americans, that perpetually recognizes all military lives lost in defense of our national freedoms.
The symbol, which Lutz designed himself, is the Honor and Remember flag, “a silent, but tangible, public reminder that specifically recognizes the military lives lost in defense of our national freedoms,” according to Lutz.
For the last two years, Lutz has been conducting a campaign—traveling all across the country—to make the flag a national symbol, similar to the POW/MIA Flag, and he is getting quite a bit of support.
According to The Stars and Stripes, the Virginia and Oklahoma legislatures have passed legislation declaring the flag an official state symbol and, in Oklahoma, Sen. Bill Brown and Rep. Dan Kirby have authored legislation to adopt the flag. Other state representatives have made commitments to vote on measures to adopt the flag during their next sessions. Lutz hopes that as a result of his cross-country travel he will one day see his flag flying over all 50 state Capitol buildings.
The Stars and Stripes:
Lutz began his nationwide journey from Virginia on June 7 and will conclude it with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. So far, he has visited 28 states. At every stop, he says he has received commitments to adopt the flag or to endorse House Resolution 1034, which would recognize the Honor and Remember flag as a national symbol.
HR 1034 was introduced by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., in 2009, and is supported by the Military Officers Association of America, according to Forbes’ website. The bill has been referred to a House subcommittee.
Read more about Mr. Lutz’s quest here.
Finally, to learn more about Mr. Lutz’s mission and organization, “Honor and Remember,” please click here, where supporters and skeptics alike will get answers to questions such as:
1. Why do we need this remembrance flag?
2. Why now?
3. Doesn’t the American flag honor the fallen?
4. Who is being honored by this flag?
5. What does ‘killed in service’ mean?
6. What is the importance of the Honor and Remember flag?
Visitors to the site will have the opportunity to sign a petition in support of the flag, donate and buy the flag and other items.
According to the Stripes:
All profits from flag sales go to pay for the flags given to other Gold Star families, Lutz said. A review of tax returns provided by Lutz shows that more than 75 percent of the profits go to support Honor and Remember Inc.’s mission.