Since her husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Cardott, was killed in Haiti in 1995, Darlene Cardott has sometimes thought the rest of the world forgot.
At her home in Fayetteville, Cardott now flies the Honor and Remember flag, a red-over-white banner that quietly reminds people of her loss.
Wednesday, the flag became North Carolina's official symbol to recognize fallen service members, one of several military-related provisions Gov. Bev Perdue signed into law in a ceremony at the N.C. National Guard aviation facility in Morrisville.
"This is not just another flag," said Kathy Moore ofAyden, who has an Honor and Remember flag of her own. Her son, Army Cpl. Ryan Russell, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.
"When you see it, you'll know that it represents another life lost for this country," she said.
Cardott and Moore attended the bill-signing ceremony.
Honor and Remember Inc., a Virginia nonprofit, is pushing to have all 50 states adopt the flag, which it says will honor those lost in all wars.
The group sells the flag on its website, www.honorand remember.org . State chapters of the organization raise money to provide the flags to service members' families, with the name of the deceased and the date and place of their death embroidered in red.
The flags feature the gold star, the symbol of the parent who has lost a child in military service; the blue star, indicating a family member served in wartime; the eternal flame, which burns at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of all fallen service members; and the folded flag, taken from the casket and presented to a family member at the end of a military funeral.
The provision adopting the flag was part of House Bill 76, which also allows service members to decide what will be done with their remains if they die during service, or to delegate that authority to someone else, by filling out a form from the Department of Defense. Until now, the state required service members to complete considerable additional paperwork.
The governor also signed into law:
House Bill 614, which allows deploying service members to apply just once to vote by absentee ballot for all elections in a calendar year in which they would be eligible voters. Before, they had to apply for each election.
House Bill 1412, which clarifies when members of the N.C. National Guard are subject to civilian law and when they are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and specifies how courts-martial may proceed.
Senate Bill 1400, which requires a creditor to certify the borrower is not on active-duty or hasn't left service within the preceding 90 days.
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