EARLEVILLE — As the 10th anniversary of the combat death of Cpl. Brandon Craig approaches, friends and family gathered Saturday to remember the Cecil County native.
The Bohemia Manor High School graduate died July 19, 2007 when he was struck by an IED while on patrol in Iraq with the U.S. Army’s Fourth Stryker Brigade. He was 25.
Members of the Department of Pennsylvania Sons of AMVETS presented Craig’s parents, Danny and Mary Jane Craig, with the Honor and Remember flag in a ceremony held at The Anchorage.
The Honor and Remember flag is a project launched on Memorial Day in 2008 by George Lutz whose son — Army Cpl. George Anthony Lutz — was killed by snipers in Iraq in 2005.
There are six elements to the flag, each with significance, according to John Wagner, state commander. The red field represents the blood of the fallen service member, while the white border stands for the purity of that sacrifice. Service in military conflict is symbolized by the blue star, which frames the gold star, signifying a warrior’s ultimate sacrifice. The folded flag below the star is for the tribute given to that service member while the flame is a reminder of the spirit of the fallen and how memories of him or her live on in the minds of family and friends.
While anyone can own and fly the flag — and is encouraged to do so — Wagner said the flag presented to the Craigs is unique.
“Each flag is made for each family,” Wagner said, adding it is a gift to the families of the fallen.
At the bottom of the flag, below the call to honor and remember, was printed “CPL Brandon M Craig 19 July 2007 Iraq” in red letters.
“The family cannot buy this flag. It’s a gift,” said Eugene Haines, an AMVETS member.
Danny Craig said his daughter Amber puts together a ceremony each year to remember her brother.
“Year five was pretty big,” he said.
This year would also be special. Joining family and friends at the ceremony were members of Brandon’s unit who were there when he was the lone fatality of the attack.
“They are very special to us,” Mary Jane said. “They have all kept in touch.”
Mary Jane said Brandon was likely there in spirit.
“He would be so proud,” she said. “He just loved the Army and loved these guys.”
Now 10 years later, she said making sure her son is remembered is most important.
“These guys should not be forgotten,” she said.
To that end, a group of BMHS alumni have launched a campaign to get the stadium at that school named in Craig’s honor.
On Saturday, AMVETS also presented an Honor and Remember flag to Beverly Fabri of Chestertown, in memory of her son, Pvt. Bryan “Nick” Spry. Spry, a graduate of Kent County High School, died Feb. 14, 2004, also in Iraq.