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South Salt Lake Journal

U.S. Honor Flag comes to South Salt Lake to honor Officer David Romrell

Sep 23, 2019 01:41PM ● By Bill Hardesty

Members of the South Salt Lake Police Department Honor Guard fold the U.S. Honor Flag after raising and lowering it honoring Officer David Romrell. (Photo courtesy Joe Randall, Fallen Hero Network)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

The U.S. Honor Flag stopped at the South Salt Lake Police Department Sept. 16 for a brief yet solemn ceremony to honor fallen officer David Romrell. Police Chief Jack Carruth conducted the meeting. Liz Romrell and her son were in attendance along with other city officials and city residents.

"I came to honor Officer Romrell and my son-in-law who was a veteran that died in 2013," said Micki Smith, a senior citizen living at the IOOF towers on Sunset Avenue.

The ceremony

Overcast skies broke with bright sunshine as the U.S. Honor Flag arrived in a police motorcade. The flag is carried in a special case. Carruth began the ceremony by asking Liz Romrell to join him at the podium.

"I want to say how strong this woman is. From day one she kept her composure. She was a strength not only for her family but her South Salt Lake family.....Elizabeth, thank you," remarked Carruth.

In prepared remarks, Carruth thanked the SSL community for their support during their time of lost.

He also said, "Those who work alongside David will forever feel the pain of losing a brother in blue."

He then put on special cotton gloves embroidered with USHF (United States Honor Flag) in blue. The flag is never touched with bare hands. After a slow salute, he pulled the flag out and walked to the honor guard cradling the flag close to his heart. Carruth gave it to the head of the SSLC PD Honor Guard.

They raised the flag to full staff and the group recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The flag was dropped to half-staff followed by a moment of silence for Romrell.

The flag again was raised to full staff and lowered. After folding the flag, the honor guard returned it to Carruth. 

The SSLC PD flag was brought forward. Each flag was slowly lowered so that the top corners touched. The flags were again brought close to the hearts of the flag bearers. The SSLC PD flag was raised to full staff and the U.S. Honor Flag was returned to its case. 

History of the U.S. Honor Flag

The U.S. Honor Flag grew out of the remembrance of and respect for first responders of Sept. 11. Chris Heisler headed to Ground Zero from his home in Texas with two gifted flags— a U.S. flag and a Texas state flag. Along the way, he helped to organize the largest convoy of first responders in United Sates history. 

While attending the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey memorial and wake in New Jersey, he was struck as first responders ripped off patches to leave with the survivors. He decided to leave his two flags. However, when he placed them on the table, he was approached by a survivor who explained that her husband was "vaporized" in the 9/11 attacks. The survivor challenged him to keep the U.S. flag because the patriotism of the day would fade away and people would forget. Heisler told her that Americans can never forget the sacrifice. He left the Texas state flag and returned to Texas with a commitment to help people not forget.

In 2003, at the age of 34, Heisler joined the army. He took the U.S. Flag to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured in battle and return to Texas.

In 2007, Heisler arranged for his flag to fly over the Texas state capitol. The story of the flag got some media attention and when three Odessa, Texas police officers were killed in the line of duty, the flag was requested for their funeral. 

Since that day, the flag was named the U.S. Honor Flag and has traveled over 7 million miles by land, air and rocket. It flew aboard the last space shuttle.

The Honor Network's commitment to American's heroes is to "never forget."