• 64°

U.S. Honor Flag will adorn Hawkins’ casket

The U.S. Honor Flag that will rest at the head of the casket during visitation today and the funeral tomorrow for Panola County Constable Raye Hawkins is a special flag with a rich history of American patriotism, rooted in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the country.

According to information provided by The Honor Network, an American Flag and a Texas flag were given to Chris Heisler by the Texas House of Representatives, along with a hand written note that thanked him for his philanthropic efforts with First Responders while working in the energy industry.

Heisler, then 34, joined the U.S. Army in 2003 and took the American Flag to the battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan. He returned home to Texas in 2004 after being injured in Iraq.

On Sept. 11, 2007, the flag was flown above the Texas State Capitol, and began to gain media attention. It was requested at the funerals of Cpl. John “Scott” Gardner, Cpl. Abel Marquez, and Cpl. Arlie Jones of the Odessa Police Department who were killed in the line of duty. In Sept., 2008.

Since the tragedy in Odessa, The U.S. Honor Flag has been on the move around the country honoring American heroes.

The U.S. Honor Flag has traveled more than seven million miles, by ground, air, and even on NASA’s last space shuttle mission to honor America’s heroes. “Never Forget” is the commitment of the organization.

Custom 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 gloves.

The 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, according to The Honor Network website. These are white gloves with USHF embroidered in white and are never used to handle the flag.

A third set of gloves, known as USHF “Founders” gloves, are gifted to the rifle team members who perfect the three volley salute when honoring a fallen hero. These gloves are black with USHF embroidered in gold. These gloves are also never used to handle the U.S. Honor Flag.