What or Who is the “HONOR FLAG RUNNER”?
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:
- Prepare a pre-run announcement on social media, summarizing the honoree’s service.
- Carry Old Glory in honor of the service rendered. We write the name of the honoree on the fringe of the flag and wear a bib that bears the honoree’s name, rank, branch of service and photograph of the honoree, when possible.
- Prepare a post-run narrative on social media, sharing photographs and highlights of the Honor Flag Run. When possible, we tag the service member and/or their families so they can be encouraged by the comments of others.
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:
- Service members and veterans of the United States military forces
- Hometown Heroes who took an oath of service (generally includes law enforcement officers, fire fighters and medical professionals)
- Patriots who bring honor to their community, having served the needs of others in a meaningful capacity (volunteers, teachers, etc.)
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:
- Research the Honoree’s service history
- Share the hero’s story
- Label a 3’x5′ American flag with honoree’s name
- Wear a laminated bib on the run to prompt awareness of the hero’s service
- Carry Old Glory on the full distance of the event
- Share the experience of the run via narrative and photographs
- Ceremonially fold and present/send the flag to the honoree or family member
- Render a final salute upon presentation, when possible