In an unusual turn of events, a Marine’s tribute flag finally found its way back to his Texas mother nine years after he died overseas.
Lance Cpl. Fred Maciel, 20, died in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2005. Many of his unit members left messages on his tribute flag, but Maciel’s mother, Patsy Maciel, only recently received the memento after a couple purchased it at a flea market, KDFW reports.
Lanie and Walter Brown came across the flag while perusing a Hemphill flea market. They only paid $5, but after realizing what the flag represented, they knew it was priceless.
“When I realized the boy had been killed, that’s when I – that was probably more emotional for me, because that’s when I knew the flag had to come back to it’s mom,” said Walter Brown.
The Browns returned the flag to Patsy after finding her on Facebook. Patsy was more than happy to finally have her son’s tribute flag and said she is excited to read the messages inscribed on it.
“I got goosebumps all over, just watching all this – all this for my son,” Patsy said.
While it’s unclear how the flag first arrived at the flea market, what is known is that it’s finally back where it belongs.