Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)
In less than one month, Americans will observe the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. Those who witnessed the events of September 11 will always remember that day and what they were doing.
It’s like those of us that were alive when President Kennedy was assassinated. We remember that day; we remember what we were doing. And the old timers, they remember Pearl Harbor and what they were doing on December 7, 1941. September 11 is a day that we as a nation should always remember because it reminds us of the preciousness of this nation and her belief in freedom and liberty. It is something that is without a doubt worth preserving.
As we remember where we were on that fateful day, it is even more important that we remember the 3,000 individuals who lost their lives that day. Many who lost their lives were heroes trying to rescue those trapped by the attacks. When those Twin Towers were set aflame, those volunteers, those firefighters, those emergency medical folks and those police officers, they rushed as hard as they could to get to that terror from the sky.
As a result of their heroism, many got to live another day. There are countless stories of the selfless bravery that occurred on 9/11, how Americans reacted extraordinarily in order to rescue one another. In the face of attack, we pulled through with a remarkable spirit of unity and compassion that swept through our country.
Shortly after the tragic September 11, 2001 attacks on our great country, Americans all over the world raised up ‘Old Glory’ in patriotic understanding of the events that had just befallen our country. The American Flag has always been a symbol of bringing our nation together in good times or bad.
One of these many flags was the symbol of our nation’s perseverance — the flag that was flown over Ground Zero. Still today this flag continues to fly, all around this great nation in support of our heroes, because of Texas patriot Chris Heisler.
In the aftermath of September 11, Chris Heisler, like many other Americans, felt compelled to take action after witnessing his country come under attack. When Chris was gifted this patriotic flag by Texas House of Representatives, he helped organize one of the longest police motorcades in the history of the United States to honor it. The American flag is a symbol to revere, respect, and honor and Chris’ profound respect for America’s symbol should be commended.
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, patriotism surged in the United States. Many young men and women enlisted to help fight the war on terrorism. Chris Heisler was part of this movement, and at the age of 34, he put his business career on hold to enlist in the U.S. Army. While serving his country, Chris carried his revered flag with him to Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq so it could fly with soldiers in combat zones.
Soon soldiers began to refer to this flag as one of honor, as a result the flag is now named the United States Honor Flag. Ten years later, the United States Honor Flag continues to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty protecting the freedoms we all hold dear.
The United States Honor Flag has been to many places including Ground Zero in New York, the Pentagon, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Memorial, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Presidential Libraries, VA Hospitals, and to countless sporting events. The flag has flown for more than 1,000 fallen soldiers and at funerals for police officers and firefighters. Recently it went to Space! It traveled on board the shuttle Atlantis’ final mission.
It is one single flag. There’s a lot of security details involved in transporting the US Honor Flag. It is kept in a secure case. The Department of Homeland Security has sewn microchips into the seam of the flag to verify its authenticity. The flag is constantly traveling. It is a national treasure that is respected and guarded.
The betterment in our country often originates from the efforts of just one person. The establishment of the Honor Flag serves as an important reminder of the daily sacrifices our nation’s heroes make, and recognizes the freedoms of Old Glory. In recognition of Chris Heisler’s patriotism, in remembrance of the tragic events on September 11, 2001 and for those who continue to fight to preserve our liberty, I am proud to salute Chris Heisler for his loyalty to America, and to the United States Flag.
We should remember those who died, those who got to live, and those who continue to fight for our freedoms today in places all over the world in the name of liberty and freedom.
And that’s just the way it is.