Beneath the Flag

In the flurry of New Year’s Resolutions and inspirational sayings that streamed through my Facebook feed the last week, I saw this one.

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It immediately brought to mind a Kickstarter project that my husband Rob launched last month. You see Rob has always had a heart for our military service members. One of his uncles who was more like a father to him, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and Rob himself wanted to become a Marine at a young age when he was pulled to take care of his mother and grandmother during illness.

Rob and I met during my transition back to SA from Dallas after Luke passed away. My sister and family needed me here and I knew Bub could use the support of family around him as well. Over the last 5+ years my husband has gotten to know Luke pretty well, as well as you can know someone you never met. We have videos and stories and photos and mementos of a precious and short life well lived. He has also been there with us when we were notified that Luke would be “honored” on TV, my parents rushed to get cable in their new house so we could see what ended up being a 3 second splash of his photo, name, rank and date of death at the end of a TV show.

After months of brainstorming ideas and long hours during his free time Rob came up with the idea for Beneath the Flag. It will be a book (that hopefully will be an eventual series) and a documentary about some of the fallen from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We discussed so many ideas – blogs, websites, books, etc. Do you realize that if we did one blog post per day highlighting a life lost in just Iraq and Afghanistan, there are over 6,000 at this point, it would take us 365 days a year for 15 years to recognize everyone? How staggering is that number? Those are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, spouses and best friends. These people have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country and we think that they deserve to be known as more that a name, rank and date of death. I know that families want their loved ones to be remembered and my husband wants to make that happen. This is not a project to focus on death, this is a project to give a glimpse into the lives of amazing people and helping us to know better who they were.

I know this is a big project. Rob realizes this is a huge project and has made the commitment to make it happen and dedicate his full time attention for 4-6 months (project timeline) to get it done right. I love seeing my husband truly passionate about a project, this project. I have woken up more nights that I can count in the last few months to the dim light from his office shining down the hall while he is working on the website, getting quotes on the cost of printing in the US (shockingly high compared to China) and tweaking the project to make it better.  I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of my husband. He has a great idea, well laid out plans and now he needs help to make it happen.

The Kickstarter campaign expires January 22nd. If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter here is how it works – you “pledge” an amount to the campaign and if the funding goal is met by the deadline then you are charged on the end date.  If the full funding amount is not raised then you are not charged and the project goes away. I believe this project deserves to be funded. I believe that no matter what anyone’s political beliefs are we as a country support our military and I would love to see this project funded by donations big or small from all over the nation.

In short, the project will be a beautiful coffee table book with stories and photos directly from family members and friends – a tribute to their loved one in their own words. What makes this unique is that the families will have control of what is said, not from an author, publisher or media members perspective. Beneath the Flag will also have a companion website and a documentary that follows the project being made, visits to families, etc. Please visit the website, Kickstarter page, Facebook page (like it too) and Twitter feed for more details on the project in Rob’s own words including a video he made.

Today I am asking you to do 3 things.

#1 – Spread the word. Share the link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or by email. If you visit the website Rob has set up, there are sample messages you can cut and paste or edit to fit you.

#2 – Donate. You can donate $5 or $5,000, we need people to donate and the page to get activity and upward movement. I cannot stress how critical this piece is, more people will jump in and donate if they see progress and donations coming in. The process is very fast and easy, you can even log in using Facebook to make your pledge.

#3 – Share ideas and contacts. Do you have a group/organization/company that Rob can come speak with in the next 2 weeks? He is speaking to Gold Star moms next week and will be able to mention the project at a Social Media Breakfast too. More the merrier!

I want to say “Thank you” for reading all the way to the end of my post. I appreciate you listening to me and for your consideration in supporting this project. I know this project has taken me out of my comfort zone, requiring me to step out to ask people to help and I think that is a wonderful thing. I love my husband, his passion for our troops and his dedication to make this project be successful. My honest feeling is if a $30,000+ project on a group of kids toilet papering houses can be funded, a $50,000+ project honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom is totally doable.

Thanks for helping make this happen and I mean that with all of my heart. We have 18 days to go – lets do this! Jen