Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, a flag was gifted to my brother Christopher Heisler by the Texas House of Representatives. Like many Americans, Heisler felt compelled to take action during a horrific time for the United States, and with this Flag in tow, he set out for Ground Zero. Along the way, Heisler helped to organize one of the longest police motorcades in the history of the United States, bound for Ground Zero bringing many tokens of support together with other agencies, to our nation's Heroes.
Since September 2001, the United States Honor Flag has traveled over seven million miles, the Flag flew aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on NASA's final Shuttle Mission in 2011. The Flag has flown over Ground Zero, State Capitols, the Pentagon, Presidential Libraries, State and National Memorials, and attended funerals and tributes for America's fallen heroes killed in the line of duty.
The Flag as become a national treasure to millions of people, honoring thousands of police officers, firefighters, first responders and those serving on active combat duty in the military who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our communities and country. The Flag has become a symbol of Honor, rich in history, inspiring a renewed spirit of American patriotism as it has paid tribute to those who have answered the call of duty and gone before us, forever remembered.
The Honor Network was founded on the conviction that every person who is committed in service to our communities and country deserves the support of every single American, and that an increase in American patriotism is vital in keeping our great nation united.
As The Honor Network President and Co-Founder, my brother is charged with upholding the organization's mission to remind Americans of the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform; a subject with which he has first-hand knowledge.
In April of 2003, Chris put his career on hold and enlisted in the United States Army. He participated in a special program with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command where he utilized his extensive IT background to help develop a gang member intelligence database that was used by area police and federal law enforcement.
As part of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, Chris was instrumental in providing U.S. Service men and women with invaluable communication tools, such as Internet and telephone access, as well as secured communication.
"There is nothing I could say that will accurately describe what I think about Chris and the US Honor Flag. Simply put, amazing. I have followed the USHF on Facebook for a long time, always in awe of the work that was being done to Honor the nation's fallen Heroes. Then, tragically, I lost a Hero at home," Sean Walsh (South Plainfield NJ) said in a post. "A friend and fellow Volunteer EMT for my department, Hinal Patel. To have the USHF come to New Jersey and honor one of my own was amazing. To be able to see the flag, meet Chris, stand as Honor Guard for the Flag, and then escort the flag out of New Jersey to continue its mission was an absolute amazing experience. Everyone should get the opportunity to see this Flag and hear Chris talk, as they have Honored and continue to Honor so many deserving people. Thank you for everything you do. You will always have a loyal friend in NJ."
It's not often that an older brother can call his younger sibling an inspiration, but in this case, he has been for me. His work has opened my eyes to the difficulties the law enforcement community and first responders face on a daily basis. Let's face it, we all want the opportunity to go home at the end of the day, and these folks do too.
Over the past few hockey seasons my daughter Sonia has been performing the National Anthem at junior games across the country. At two of the games last season, in Springfield (MO) and Boston, we asked local law enforcement to join her and the team on the blue line for the anthem in a very symbolic show of support for their efforts.
We would like to see that trend take off coast to coast. It's a simple gesture that would certainly be supported by law enforcement in each community.
Please consider joining our family in support of the United States Honor Flag and the efforts of this project, my brother and the Honor Network.
SONIA NATIONAL ANTHEM FROM SPRINGFIELD, MO
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.