After a roadside bomb in Iraq killed his soldier son in 2003, Marlowe Fletcher of Island Park made it his personal mission to attend the funerals of fallen soldiers from the New York area.
Now, Fletcher is assisting in another grieving father's mission - to establish a national flag to honor fallen servicemen.
George Lutz of Virginia, the father of Cpl. George A. Lutz II, slain by a sniper in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005, embarked Saturday on a 50-state campaign, promoting the Honor and Remember flag, designed by his organization, Honor and Remember Inc.
"George Lutz is on a mission, just like I'm on my mission, and other families are on their missions," Fletcher said. "My promise was to treat their kids with respect, that these kids will not be forgotten. This is a way to do that."
Fletcher, the father of Army Spc. Jacob S. Fletcher, will join Lutz in support of the flag in Manhattan Friday in Rockefeller Plaza.
In Washington, Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to make the flag an official federal emblem last year, and the bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties for consideration.
Wednesday, the bill, and the flag, moved one step closer to becoming law.
Forbes and Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-Va.), a co-sponsor of the bill, wrote a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) asking for a full committee hearing for the bill, the first action on the bill in over a year.
"Of all of the emblems we have in this country, the one we are missing is one that remembers military lives lost preserving our freedom," said Lutz, who is lobbying state lawmakers in each Capitol. Two states, Virginia and Oklahoma, have adopted the flag as symbols of remembrance.
Lutz hopes to present the Honor and Remember flag to legislators in Albany on June 21.
"Next weekend is Father's Day, and this year there will be a lot of fathers without their sons," Lutz said. "I'm on a mission to make sure my son, and all of these sons, are remembered."
There have been 1 million fallen U.S. servicemen since the Revolutionary War, according to the Honor and Remember website.