The U.S. Honor Flag will arrive in Columbia Sunday to Honor fallen firefighter Assistant Chief Bryant Gladney, ahead of visitation and funeral services. The flag is expected to arrive at 4:00 PM in an undisclosed location.
The U.S. Honor Flag is not just a regular American Flag. The U.S. Honor Flag has traveled to space and millions of miles worldwide for funerals and since 9/11 honoring fallen firefighters, police officers, first responders and members of the US Armed Forces killed in the line of duty.
Now it's back in Missouri to honor fallen assistant chief Gladney.
On the morning of Dec. 22, Gladney was on the scene of an accident on I-70 West at mile marker 135.4 east of Columbia near Route Z. As crews were working the scene, Reports say Kevin Bunson, 64, of Kansas City, Mo, was driving a tractor-trailer traveling westbound and hit Gladney's vehicle at high speed. Crews were able to free Gladney from his vehicle and were transported to the university hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Gladney served the citizens of Mid-Missouri for over 30 years, and the citizens of Boone County Fire Protection District for 25 years.
The flag became what we now know it as after 9/11 , when individuals were buying flags to show patriotism.
Christopher Heisler, the founder of the U.S. Honor Flag, was in New York on 9/11 helping the families of 9/11 victims.
"My intent of going to New York besides helping the families and covering some of the expenses was to leave behind an American Flag and a Texas Flag, " said Heisler.
when Heisler was helping victims, he met a widowed woman of a port authority officer. Heisler wanted to give her the flag.
"She wanted me to keep the flag, so I did. I drove from New York back to Texas. 34 years old I enlisted in the military. So with me I took the flag to Iraq, Afghanistan...," said Heisler.
Its also been a million other miles around world. "This flag has been to over a thousand funerals for police officers, for firefighters, for those in the armed forces. Four super bowls, 16 world series baseball games, it was on the last space shuttle, the international space station, and travels millions and millions of miles" said Heisler.
Each time the flag is used, it's only touched with brand new custom gloves that the family of the fallen will keep. Heisler said due to the flag's value, its insured for 22 million dollars, and its micro-chipped.
The flag will be guarded by officers overnight while sitting at the fire protection district headquarters and will later be placed near the fallen Gladney's casket during both visitation and the funeral services.
Visitation will be held Monday, Dececember 27 from 4 pm to 7 pm, and the funeral, with full fire service honors, will be Tuesday, December 28 at 11 am. Both events will take place at on the University of Missouri campus at the Hearnes Center on 700 E Stadium Blvd, Columbia, MO.