Thank you for your interest and support in honoring those who served our great country!
Thank you for your interest and support in honoring those who served our great country!
To ensure the focus of attention remains on those who are being honored, rather than the “runner”, the term “Honor Flag Runner” is used when promoting events. It is not a corporation or company, he is just a grateful American who seeks to recognize America’s heroes.
Private sponsorships are available for those who would like to join the cause as a “crew member”. For more information, please refer to our “Sponsorship” page.
“Honor those who served”.
Honor: is achieved by three steps, summarized by the acronym R-U-N.
Recognize those who served. For those who are still among us, a simple acknowledgement of their service goes a long way to encourage them. It reassures them that the population they served appreciates them for their role in preserving our freedoms and quality of life. In cases of posthumous recognition, surviving family members are reassured that the service their loved one rendered is recognized and appreciated for their sacrifice and even after the tragic loss of their Hero.
Understand the honoree’s story. As we prepare for an Honor Flag Run, we inquire, research and seek to understand the honoree’s story so that the sentiment of honor is more meaningful. For posthumous honors, surviving family members generally find comfort in sharing the information they have. There are cases where sons and daughters may have never met a parent who died in service to our country – they may only know of a couple medals or awards that their parent received. In such cases, we research and disclose the citation criteria so the family can better understand the achievements of their hero.
Never forget the service and sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms and quality of life. To memorialize the service of the honoree, we:
Those who served:
When considering those who are deserving of recognition in an Honor Flag Run, the basic criteria for selection is Honorable Service. The common thread between military and civilian honorees is selflessness, meaning one has sacrificed the comforts, conveniences, or even one’s own freedoms and personal interests in the interest of serving those of others. Eligible honorees serve(d) in at least one of these classifications:
As our mission is to “honor those who served”, Michael Murphy established “Honor Flag Runner” as an alias to avoid focusing attention on the runner. Rather, it was important to focus attention on those who are being honored.
The initial inspiration for Honor Flag Runner was a photo of Michael’s brother, Frank Murphy (left) carrying Old Glory during Indiana’s Run For The Fallen.
Having heard Frank’s story of his experience, a seed of inspiration was planted. Though at the time, Michael was not interested in running, he was touched to see such patriotism. His reaction was, “If I were to ever start running, I would carry Old Glory so that other people could feel the way I do, when I see it flying high and proud.”.
About five years after this photo was taken, Frank’s oldest and youngest siblings entered their first Half Marathon. Without any significant conditioning or training, LaVonne and Mike set out to complete their first Half Marathon in Sugar Land, Texas. This was the first Honor Flag Run.
LaVonne and Michael shared the experience of carrying Old Glory high and proud in honor of their father’s service in the United States Air Force. Fred Murphy retired with over 20 years of service. At this time of Fred’s retirement, Michael was too young to have any memory of his father in uniform or active duty service. Carrying Old Glory at this Half Marathon, in honor of their 81-year old father would give the family a memory of recognition for a career of honorable service. Upon completion, Michael and LaVonne ceremonially folded Old Glory and presented it to their father with a proper military salute.
The next weekend, there was another Half Marathon, Michael registered for his second event before even leaving the parking lot of his first. Over the next two years, over 100 Veterans, Hometown Heroes and Patriots from all over the United States have received a flag and have been honored for their service and sacrifice to our great country.
Initially, the mission was to honor living veterans by carrying a flag on a run, looking them in the eye, expressing appreciation for their service. However, after meeting widows and mothers of fallen heroes, the scope of the mission grew to include flag runs that would honor both veterans who live among us and those who would be posthumously honored. For those receiving posthumous honors, the flag is presented or sent to a surviving family member.
There are many different organizations and patriots who “run in honor of” a veteran. The differentiators of Honor Flag Runner are that we:
At running events, volunteers ensure the runners have everything they need to complete the distance. Whether it is tending to needs for hydration, nutrition, taping a swollen ankle, etc, volunteers have a direct impact on the runner’s ability to finish the event. For runs of distances greater than 26.2 miles (ultra marathons), runners often recruit their own “crew” of volunteers to help them keep a target pace, stay focused, maintain motivation.
The Honor Flag Runner Crew is made up of partners who join as a partner in the mission to sponsor an Honor Flag Run, covering the expense of an event. Crew Members (Sponsors) cover the cost of the 3’x5′ embroidered flag and laminated bib that are issued to the Honoree or surviving family member. The sponsorship also includes limited edition Crew Member’s Challenge Coin and certificate that bears the photo, name, rank, service branch of the honoree. The cost of sponsorship is $35 and includes shipping/delivery to the service member and Crew Member.
The design of the Challenge Coin was a collaborative effort incorporating feedback from those who follow Honor Flag Runner on social media, honorees and supporters. Each symbol, color and placement was deliberate to be descriptive of the Honor Flag Runner Mission (to honor those who served) and to be an encouragement to prompt action to honor and remember those who served.
Design elements of the coin are described below for reference:
FRONT OF COIN:
“Honor Flag Runner Crew”: “Crew” designation: in the running community, refers the those who support the runner and ensure they have what they need to safely finish the run. As a sponsor, Honor Flag Runner crew members cover the cost of the ceremonial products and make the honor run possible.
“Gold Star”: The Gold Star first made an appearance during World War I. The Gold Star signified the family’s pride in the loved one’s sacrifice rather than the mourning of their personal loss (www.goldstarfamilies.com). The intent of including this symbol on the coin is to honor families who grieve the loss of their hero daily.
“No 22”: The Veterans Administration published statistics in 2012 reporting 22 veterans succumbed to suicide each day. While there is some question as to the actual count, even a single veteran suicide over any period of time is still too many. The intent is to elevate awareness and inspire internal or external intervention.
“Medal”: Intended to emphasize Biblical direction to “press on toward the goal”; it is intended to inspire perseverance until completion of the mission.
Philippians 3:14: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“Distressed Silhouette”: the scribbled silhouette and slightly bowed head acknowledges the mental battle many suffer from when battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The intent is to elevate awareness of this challenge faced by so many.
“Battle Cross”: In war, it is impractical to prepare for and conduct a full memorial service/ceremony. The Battle Cross is staged in honor of a fallen brother or sister-in-arms (https://www.wearethemighty.com/origin-of-the-battlefield-cross); the intent of this symbol is to recognize the losses battle-brothers and sisters endure in war.
“Honor Flag Runner”: The silhouette of the runner emphasizes that Honor Flag Runs are not about the runner, rather they are about honoring a deserving service member, veteran, hometown hero or patriot. The bold contrast of the red, white and blue compared the silhouette shift the focus from the runner to Old Glory.
BACK OF COIN:
“May we strive to be a population worthy of the sacrifices paid to secure our freedoms”: This phrase was inspired by a conversation with Janice Chance, Gold Star Mother of Capt. Jesse Melton, III (USMC), who honors her son by serving others – to be worthy of his sacrifice.
“USA”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Army and the United States Army Reserve.
“USN”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Navy and the United States Navy Reserve.
“USAF”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Air Force and the United States Air Force Reserve.
“USMC”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
“USCG”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard Reserve.
“The Badge”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in law enforcement or in a capacity that supports law enforcement.
“Maltese Cross”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in fire protection or in a capacity that supports a fire department.
“Star of Life”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in healthcare or in a capacity that supports healthcare.
“State Guard Shield”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in a State Defense Force or in a capacity that supports state defense forces.
“National Guard”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in a State National Guard or in a capacity that supports the National Guard.
“Air National Guard”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in a State Air National Guard or in a capacity that supports the National Guard.
“Cross”: A symbol that reminds us that we can be forgiven and restored in Christ. For those who suffer, we pray for God’s blessing, grace, healing, strength and comfort be upon them and their children for generations.
“Red Background”: The red background serves as a reminder of the blood that has been spilled to secure our freedoms.