Kevin Daly eager to travel thousands of miles to bring a discarded memorial flag he found in Afghanistan to its rightful home.
While reading the morning paper Paul Kraynak came across an inspiring story of a young South Philly Marine, Kevin Daly, who was determined to bring a memorial flag dedicated to a fellow marine, Marine Sergeant Daniel D Gurr, home to Utah to be with his family. Marine Sergeant Daniel D Gurr was a respected leader in a small, elite Marine unit, the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, or “Force Recon.” That unit operated in the Sangin Valley in the Helmand Province, an area once called the most dangerous place in the world, where the threats of gunfire and the Taliban were as sure as the sunrise. On Aug. 5, 2011, Gurr was on a foot patrol in the town of Malozai when he was killed by small-arms fire. He was 21 and had been promoted a few weeks prior. Before the sun set that day, in the Sangin district of Helmand province, his fellow Marines wrote on an American flag and raised it on their patrol base in his honor. The small American flag, about the size of a laptop, was flying high with the words; “In Memory of Daniel David Gurr: Never Forget” written on it. It was rare for U.S. flags to fly at bases in Afghanistan for an extended period, because of safety and political reasons. That flag was both a tribute to Gurr and a thumb in the eye of the Taliban.
In 2009, Kevin Daly enlisted at 17, and left Philly for basic training after graduation. Daly, a lance corporal, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, in Afghanistan and went to the Helmand Province. He was a “point man” in his unit, he said, and always “out front with a metal detector making sure we didn’t step on any bombs.”
In February 2012, Daly found Gurr’s flag folded up beneath a seat inside an armored vehicle and figured it was too important to leave there. When he returned to Philly, he brought the flag with him. It sat on his on his mantle in his rowhouse near 18th and Jackson streets.
In 2014, Daly started a GoFundMe campaign and set a goal to raise $1,500 to help him travel to Vernal, Utah to bring the Flag home to Gurr’s family during the August 2015 memorial service. In July 2015 the account raised $2,500 and Daly was able to book his trip to Utah.
When Paul read the story, North Penn Art offered to frame the flag at no cost to make sure it would be properly preserved when Daly handed it off to Gurr’s family during the memorial service. The flag was framed in the middle with two pictures of of Sgt. Gurr on the sides, the Marine Corps logo under the flag and two engraved quotes under the photographs. Daly thought the most appropriate quotes would be “Semper Fidelis” and “All Gave Some, Some Gave All” for this piece. Framed behind premium museum glass to prevent fading the final gift brought tears to Gurr’s Family. Not only was Daly welcomed by hundreds of people when he arrived in Vernal, Utah but he was able to pass on the memorial flag and the remaining $1,200 from his trip to the Gurr family.
Tracy Beede is presented with a flag bearing her son’s name by Kevin Daly during a ceremony on Aug. 7, 2015.
Daniel David Gurr’s mother, Tracy Beede, holds the flag bearing her son’s name that she was presented with during a ceremony Aug. 7, 2015. Gurr was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.