From Iraq to Leander: A flag to honor fallen peace officers

Cpl Aaron George presents Leander Police Chief Greg Minton with a flag in honor of George's brother who was killed in Afghanistan. KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard.
Cpl Aaron George presents Leander Police Chief Greg Minton with a flag in honor of George's brother who was killed in Afghanistan. (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard.)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — On National Police Officers Memorial Day, the family of a fallen soldier presented a flag which traveled across the globe to the Leander Police Department.

Carson George, a retired Vietnam veteran, lost his son, Lance Corporal Phillip C. George, when he was killed on Aug. 18, 2005 in Afghanistan. LCpl. George was serving in the Marines and was just 22 years old at the time of his death.

Carson has another son, Cpl. Aaron George, who is an officer with Leander police.

At the time of his son’s death, Carson was in Iraq. He flew to join the Angel Flight to bring his son’s body home.

In 2009, Carson returned to Iraq and visited Camp Wetherbee, named for Darrell Wetherbee, an international police officer killed by sniper fire there. Carson saw many commonalities between his family and Wetherbee, who was both a Marine and a Maine police officer. At the base he asked the commander to take home the flag that was flying to bring it to the Leander Police Department.

Cpl Aaron George presents Leander Police Chief Greg Minton with a flag in honor of George's brother who was killed in Afghanistan. KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard.
Cpl Aaron George presents Leander Police Chief Greg Minton with a flag in honor of George’s brother who was killed in Afghanistan. (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard.)

“There are things that are written on the heart that no one can understand, I don’t understand a lot of times, and I thought, ‘What a tribute!’ Darrel Wetherbee was a police officer, my other son Aaron is a police officer and I know no better place for that flag to be,” Carson explained. Twelve years after his son’s passing, Carson still tears up to talk about it.

Carson and his wife drove out from Houston Monday to bring the flag to the Leander Police Department. They have started another project, creating the Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial Wall, a transportable wall showing the photos of every Texan killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

After a year of coordinating, the George family drove their Fallen Heroes Wall to Leander to present the flag on a day that would have added meaning because of the national day of recognition for fallen officers.

“It just kind of fit hand in hand with what we’re trying to do for this week, to memorialize those who have lost their lives in the line of duty and to let them know that even in Leander, Texas they are not forgotten,” said Chief Greg Minton of Leander police.

In a ceremony Monday night, Chief Minton received the flag from Cpl. Aaron George who represented his brother.

“It kinda brings it home that it’s personal, that the conflict — no matter your views are on it — there’s a family behind each of these soldiers that have served,” Aaron said. Aaron’s grandfather is a World War II veteran. He explained that many families he knows in the law enforcement community also have ties to military service.

The flag from Camp Wetherbee will be preserved in perpetuity by the Leander Police Department. Another flag Leander Police received Monday will be flown at the city’s veterans memorial.

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