Schuitmaker legislation honors fallen veterans

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker on Thursday introduced legislation that would designate the Honor and Remember Flag as the state’s official emblem representing the service and sacrifice of the men and women in the United States Military.

“We as Americans owe our freedoms and opportunities to the sacrifices made by veterans and their families,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “I am beyond thankful for our veterans and I think the Honor and Remember Flag beautifully symbolizes their service.”

George Lutz established Honor and Remember in 2008 after he lost his son Tony to a sniper in Fallujah, Iraq. In the months following Tony’s funeral, Lutz visited several families who had lost loved ones in the Iraq war. What he found was that most families simply wanted the comfort of knowing their sacrifice would not be forgotten. In honor of his son and others who have fallen, Lutz formed the Honor and Remember Flag as a universally recognized symbol acknowledging the American service men and women who never made it home.

“Honor and Remember was established to ensure that as a nation we never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country,” said Lutz. “Our organization is working diligently to have the flag recognized by every state in the union, and on behalf of the state’s families of military fallen, we are honored that Michigan Senator Schuitmaker has introduced this bill.”

Senate Bill 780 would officially designate the flag as Michigan’s official emblem recognizing the service and sacrifice made by those in the armed forces and their families.

Schuitmaker also introduced SB 781, which would create a state of Michigan license plate displaying the Honor and Remember Flag. This is not a fundraising license plate and would not require individuals to provide documentation such as service papers or Blue Star Mother designation in order to obtain it.

“These are true heroes who deserve to be remembered,” Schuitmaker said. “They have given so much, and in some cases, all that they can. These individuals and their families should know just how grateful we are for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf.”

SB 780 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security and SB 781 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation.