Veterans, families of KIA torn over flag proposal
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
DENVER (AP) — The simple banner is designed to honor those who served and died in the military. But a national campaign to add the red-and-white “Honor and Remember” flag to official U.S. flag displays on military holidays is creating painful divisions among veterans and the relatives of loved ones killed in action.
For lawmakers nationwide, the “Honor and Remember” debate forces an uncomfortable question: Who can say what should be done to honor people who died for the country?
The banner — a red-and-white background with a star, an eternal flame and the words “HONOR AND REMEMBER” — was conceived by a Virginia man, George Lutz, who lost his son in Iraq in 2005.
Lutz has visited all 50 states to promote its display beneath the American flag and the POW/MIA flag adopted by Congress in 1989. Delaware, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia have adopted the banner, and federal legislation to do so is pending for a third consecutive year in Congress.
“It’s public recognition of the price of freedom, and I don’t think we can do that enough,” said Lutz, of Chesapeake, Va., who has gathered signatures of support from countless relatives of fallen service members and many public officials, including governors and members of Congress. Lutz says the campaign helps him mourn his son, Pfc. George Anthony “Tony” Lutz II, killed at age 25.