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Cross-country bike riders bring Honor Flag to Billings

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Posted at 7:53 AM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 09:53:34-04

Two bicyclists brought the U.S. Honor Flag to Billings Fire Station 1 this weekend.

They were in Harlowton on Friday, came here to Billngs on Saturday, and left for Garryowen on Sunday.

They camped out in the parking lot, and while they were here, had a ceremony inside the fire station.

Firefighter Alex King who also serves in the Montana Army National Guard has the honor of saluting removing and holding the honor flag,

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Alex King, Billings firefighter, holding U.S. Honor Flag.

"Just kind of hoping that my service measures up to those that have paid more of a sacrifice," King said. "And trying to do everything right, in memory of them, so that their sacrifices aren't in vain or aren't trivialized."

"The U.S. Honor Flag is an American flag that flew during recovery efforts at Ground Zero," said Chris Heisler, president and founder of The Honor Network. "It was inspired by a widow of a Port Authority officer who was, in her words, vaporized. And that devastation, and she wanted that spirit of patriotism like we had on September 12 to continue."

And it turns out that firefighter Cameron Abell has handled the flag before in May of 2017.

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"We sent two representatives to Deputy Mason Moore's funeral in Townsend," Abell said. "So I was honored to be the firefighter that brought the flag out to accompany the casket back into the internment site."

"Every single time it's touched we use brand new custom gloves," Heisler said. "It's not very often I encountered the gloves on a second time. It's really an honor to be able to see those again so thanks so much. Obviously means a lot to you.

Chris's wife Cindy along with Philip Devereaux, and his wife Tanya, are taking the flag across the country.

Cindy and Philip are part of the BC to DC bike tour, and will ride approximately 3,200 miles.

"British Columbia to District of Columbia," said Cindy Heisler, a retired law enforcement officer. "But because the borders closed, we started right in Blaine, Washington. It's truly an honor for us to have this opportunity to do that, not just with the flag, but to be out here in riding because those heroes that are no longer here. If they had a chance to come back and ride with us, they would in a heartbeat."

"They're my brothers and sisters," said Devereaux, a retired firefighter. "Doesn't matter where I am, they're there for me if I need them and I'm there for them if they need me.