SOURCE: The Honor Network

May 02, 2008 13:55 ET

Chris Heisler Comments About Lawsuit Filed Against United States Flag of Honor

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - May 2, 2008) - Just as he fought for his country in Iraq, Chris Heisler is fighting a federal lawsuit challenging an all-volunteer, nonpartisan initiative that recognizes America's fallen heroes.

The Army veteran from Leander, Texas, is president and CEO of The Honor Network, an Austin-based organization that coordinates the United States Flag of Honor. The United States Flag of Honor, originally flown over the Texas Capitol in Austin on Sept. 11, 2001, recognizes the nation's fallen heroes -- the many Americans who have died in the line of duty in the military, law enforcement and firefighting. The Honor Network collects no money for its work.

"This lawsuit is an assault on the patriotic, unselfish goal of The Honor Network -- to pay tribute to our nation's fallen heroes," Heisler says.

On April 1, John Michelotti of Greenwich, Conn., filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., against Heisler and The Honor Network.

The lawsuit claims the United States Flag of Honor infringes on the trademarked phrase "Flag of Honor," which is licensed to a Micholetti-led business, BIE LLC, and a Micholetti-led nonprofit, Flag of Honor Fund Inc.

Michelotti's flag artwork and posters contain the names of all the people who died Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and on United Airlines flights 175 and 93 and American Airlines flights 11 and 77. The lawsuit claims the public is confused by the dual existence of the United States Flag of Honor and the Flag of Honor.

Heisler and The Honor Network deny Micholleti's assertions.

Although Heisler respects Micholetti's venture and its intentions, he says the United States Flag of Honor and the Flag of Honor are clearly different. The United States Flag of Honor is an authentic, untarnished American flag that salutes fallen heroes. Meanwhile, the Flag of Honor refers to U.S. flag-inspired artwork covered with the names of the thousands of people who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.

"This lawsuit is a waste of precious time and money. It's silly," Heisler says. "We don't make a dime from the United States Flag of Honor. Now, we have a litigious gentleman from Connecticut who does not want us to use the phrase 'United States Flag of Honor.'"

Attorneys for Heisler and The Honor Network plan to file a response to Michelotti's lawsuit in early May.

"Mr. Michelotti's legal action does not take anything away from the United States Flag of Honor and The Honor Network. We're going to march ahead with our mission," Heisler says.

Heisler, currently a consultant in the energy industry, served in the Army from 2003 to 2007; he was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and served in Iraq.

The United States Flag of Honor was flying over the Texas Capitol during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Shortly afterward, Texas Gov. Rick Perry sent that American flag and a Texas state flag to New York City; they were delivered by Heisler. What later became known as the United States Flag of Honor was presented to then-New York Gov. George Pataki at New York Police Department headquarters in recognition of police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The flag then was flown over Ground Zero.

Now, the United States Flag of Honor is transported around the country to memorialize men and women in the armed forces, law enforcement and firefighting who have died in the line of duty. The flag has been to a dozen states and the District of Columbia, as well as to U.S. combat zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.

"It's a great privilege for The Honor Network to be spearheading a project that commemorates the ultimate sacrifice of brave Americans," Heisler says.

About the United States Flag of Honor

The United States Flag of Honor is a nonpartisan initiative intended to honor all individuals committed to protecting America and its people. The United States Flag of Honor represents freedom and democracy, and is presented to educate, to inspire and to instill pride in being an American. Since September 2001, the United States Flag of Honor has paid tribute to more than 1,000 American heroes.

On May 15, 2008, the United States Flag of Honor will be flown during National Police Week activities at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. It also will be flown during 2009 Inauguration Day festivities in the nation's capital.

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    John Egan
    For The Honor Network
    512-799-1022
    Email Contact