We can slice and dice the time any way we’d like, but in the end it took 213,753,600 seconds for Combat Flags to come into existence. It took 353 weeks and 3 days for a single idea, a chronic thought, to become a tangible and meaningful project.
But, before we get to Combat Flags, let me introduce myself. My name is Dan and I served 6 years in the United States Army. I joined up a few months after my seventeenth birthday, just 2 years after Sept. 11, with the sole intention of serving my country. I didn’t join for college money or to find myself, I joined because it was the right thing to do. And I never looked back.
I qualified and signed up for 37F - Psychological Operations. Why? Because it was the only job available at the time that guaranteed me an Airborne slot. After basic, AIT, jump school and language school, I joined my company and deployed twice in support of OEF-P. My 6 years in the Army were some of the best of my life. I met amazing people, grew (personally and professionally), learned lifelong lessons and started on the journey that led me to have the life I have today. Like I said, I never looked back.
When I decided to leave the military, I left the military all the way. I packed it up — literally and figuratively — and put it away. I started school, graduated school, started my career and lived my life. But… I missed the military and I missed the connection to people who were like me. For the first time in my adult life I was accountable for nobody but myself.
So, I began the lengthy journey of finding my niche. I knew I wanted to reintegrate with the military and veteran community, but I didn’t want to volunteer randomly and donate money periodically. I wanted something with more meaning… something I could build a community around.
Enter Combat Flags. The idea for Combat Flags came during a mundane conference call. I happened to look up toward the corner of my desk, like I’d done a million times before, and spotted the tiny American Flag I had hanging. The idea struck me instantly. The Original Combat Flag was born. It took about 3 months of learning, testing and perfecting before I “officially” launched Combat Flags, but it happened. And I never looked back.
The sole purpose of Combat Flags is to connect veterans and give back in a meaningful way. At the time I launched the company I committed to supporting a veteran 501(c)(3) dedicated to helping our brothers and sisters who need it most. After much research I decided on Stop Soldier Suicide.
Since starting the company I’ve developed a strong relationship with Stop Soldier Suicide, one I’m beyond thankful for, and together with my customers we’ve donated more than $14,000 to Stop Soldier Suicide. $14,000*!
The amazing thing? We’re moving beyond awareness of the military suicide epidemic and are driving action.
A simple “thank you” isn’t enough. But I am thankful for those of you who support Combat Flags and support my personal mission to leave the world a better place than we found it. Without you none of this would be possible.
This blog is twofold. I will use it to answer questions I’ve received since starting Combat Flags and to shed light on topics of interest. But more importantly I will feature stories from active duty, reserve and veterans to tell future generations of our service and what it means. If you’ve served and would like to contribute please checkout this simple guide and Q&A. If you have an idea for a future post please let me know in the comments!
*July 2018 update: We surpassed $30,000 at the end of July
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Since that whirlwind of a night, the trajectory of Combat Flags has changed. I’ve talked with thousands of you via email, Facebook messenger, Instagram messenger and even LinkedIn this year. You’ve told me stories of your service, you’ve told me stories of loved ones who have committed suicide following a deployment (or multiple deployments), you’ve told me stories of loved ones who were killed on deployment and you’ve told me stories of hope.