Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, an American flag and a Texas flag were gifted to Chris Heisler by the Texas House of Representatives. A hand-written note thanked Chris for his philanthropic efforts with First Responders while working in the energy industry.
Like many Americans, Heisler felt compelled to take action during a horrific time for the United States, and with these flags in tow, he set out for Ground Zero to Honor the Heroes and survivors of 9/11. Along the way, Heisler helped to organize the nation’s largest convoy of First Responders 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. Heisler attended the Port Authority NY NJ memorial and wake in New Jersey. During the wake, Police Officers and Firefighters ripped off their shoulder patches and left them behind for the survivors. Heisler was inspired to leave something behind for the survivors, so he went to his vehicle and grabbed the two flags. Heisler returned to the wake and placed the flags on a table. Heisler was approached by a survivor of one of the Port Authority Officers. The survivor told Heisler that her husband was “vaporized” in the 9/11 attacks. The survivor challenged Heisler to keep the American flag and told him the spirit of patriotism would go away and people would forget. Heisler told the survivor that we, Americans, can never forget about the sacrifice of the Heroes. Heisler left the Texas flag behind for the survivors and returned to Texas with the American Flag and a commitment to do something for his country.
Heisler, 34 years of age, joined The U.S. Army in 2003 and took this American Flag to the battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan. Heisler returned home to Texas in 2004, after being injured in Iraq.
On September 11, 2007, the American Flag flew above the Texas State Capitol. This American Flag started to gain some media attention. On September 8, 2007, Corporal John “Scott” Gardner, Corporal Arlie Jones, and Corporal Abel Marquez of the Odessa Police Department, TX were shot and killed in the line of duty. The American flag was requested for the services of the Heroes in Odessa, TX. The American Flag flew aboard Southwest Airlines from Austin to Odessa to Honor these Heroes. The American Flag arrived in Odessa, TX and was treated with an incredible sense of reverence and Honor. Since the tragedy in Odessa, TX, the American Flag, named The U.S. Honor Flag, has been on the move around the country Honoring American Heroes.
From 2007-2011, the U.S. Honor Flag traveled via American Airlines. Strict protocols were in place to ensure the security and integrity of the U.S. Honor Flag.
American Airlines went bankrupt and merged with U.S. Airways in 2011. The Honor Network lost the relationship when the merger occurred, so we had to change how the U.S. Honor Flag would travel to continue its mission to Honor Heroes. Chris Heisler went on the road, first with HonorONE, putting over 300,000 miles on this 2005 Chevrolet Silverado. HonorONE2, a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, was added to The Honor Network fleet and traveled over 250,000 miles Honoring America’s Heroes through late 2017. The Honor Network decided too much money was being spent on road travel, eating out, and lodging. In October 2017, Chris and Cindy made two personal purchases which would change the way The Honor Network traveled. InspireONE, a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD 3500, is the power horse for InspirationONE, a 2018 Grand Design Momentum 395M. InspirationONE is now the home of Chris, Cindy, their two fur babies, Major and Tater Tot, and the official transport vehicle of the U.S. Honor Flag.
The U.S. Honor Flag has traveled over 7 million miles, by ground, air, and even on NASA’s last space shuttle mission to Honor America’s Heroes. “Never forget” is our commitment to America’s Heroes.
Custom USHF gloves are worn to handle The U.S. Honor Flag. These are white gloves with USHF embroidered in blue. The U.S. Honor Flag is never handled with bare hands and never handled twice with the same pair of custom USHF gloves. These gloves are gifted to surviving family members of fallen Heroes.
A second set of gloves, known as “Hero” gloves, are worn by the fallen Hero, upon family approval. These are white gloves with USHF embroidered in white. These gloves are never used to handle the U.S. Honor Flag.
A third set of gloves, known as USHF “Founders” gloves, are gifted to rifle team members who perfect the 3 volley salute when Honoring a fallen Hero. These gloves are black with USHF embroidered and gold. These gloves are never used to handle the U.S. Honor Flag.
The U.S. Honor Flag is not a casket flag. During a Heroes service, the U.S. Honor Flag traditionally rests at the head of the casket. The U.S. Honor Flag has also been used as the lead for all movements of a Hero once the tragedy has occurred.
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.