New Flag Tradition Honoring First Responders Begins at Utah Capitol On 9/11

Sep 11, 2019, 11:49 PM | Updated: Jul 18, 2023, 2:11 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – A new tradition to honor Utahns who die in the line of duty began at the Utah State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 11, as the Utah Flag of the Fallen was unveiled.

It’s common for American flags to be at funerals for those who die in the line of duty and one of the most famous flags for this is the U.S. Honor Flag.

That flag was flown at Ground Zero right after the 9/11 attacks. Since then, it has been at first responder funerals across the country.

However, that flag can’t be at every funeral.

“The unfortunate thing is because this is such a problem with line of duty deaths around the country, the U.S. Honor Flag can’t be at every location,” said Cody Cross.

He came up with an idea, and contacted state legislators, about the Utah Flag of the Fallen.

Whenever there’s a line-of-duty death in Utah, and the U.S. Honor Flag isn’t available, the Utah Flag of the Fallen will be.

“It’s kind of sad and kind of sobering to think that we flew a flag that will get used,” said Utah Rep. Lee Perry. “It would be nice to think that it could just stay in that black case forever, but it’s probably not likely.”

It will now be there for Utah families as a symbol they’re not alone and their loved ones are not forgotten.

“If we can bring comfort to them in some small way, then that’s what we need to do,” said Cross. “After 9/11, it meant a lot more. I was in the service on 9/11 and I saw the world change that day.”

Knowing things would never be the same, Cross said he felt like he needed to do more.

He started Utah’s Fallen Hero Network, which he said is a support group for families of fallen heroes.

“After the death of Cody Brotherson, what I found was a pretty common fear that the survivor’s loved ones will be forgotten,” Cross said. “We wanted to do something to let them know that wasn’t going to happen.”

Brotherson, a West Valley City police officer, died in the line of duty in November 2017.

Wednesday afternoon at the Utah Capitol, Cross continued to keep his promise.

An American flag he brought to the capitol inside a black box flew for just a few minutes above the building.

However, what this particular flag represents is so much more.

“To help the surviving families of fallen police officers, firefighters, military personnel from Utah,” Cross said.

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New Flag Tradition Honoring First Responders Begins at Utah Capitol On 9/11