HOUSTON, Texas – When Lance Cpl. Fred Maciel died in 2005 in Iraq, his fellow Marines signed a flag that was supposed to be given to his family, but somehow it got lost.
However, thanks to a Texas couple, the flag finally made it home – more than nine years later.
Maciel’s mother wasn’t expecting a ceremony. She wasn’t expecting a salute from dozens of strangers.
“They’re here for my son. Look at them,” she said.
And she wasn’t expecting a surprise like this.
A flag covered in heartfelt messages written by his fellow Marines was a tribute meant to go to his family, but somehow it got lost until Walter Brown found it at flea market.
“The lady just said, ‘It’s $5.’ She said, ‘It has been written on you know that.’ I said, ‘That’s OK. I’ll go ahead and buy it,’” Brown said.
With his own son being a Marine, Brown read the messages and knew he had to get it home.
“It’s a lot deeper than just putting it in the mailbox and shipping it over. It had to be hand delivered,” he said.
The Brown family tracked down Maciel’s mother, and on Saturday evening, his wife personally put the flag into her arms.
“I got peace in my heart. You know I’m happy. This is all for my son. Nobody forgot my son,” Maciel said.
Two families brought together by a chance find that nobody expected.
“This is a once in a lifetime event for all of us,” Brown said. So where was that flag all this time? Nobody knows.
The flea market where they found it buys items from abandoned mini-storage units. They’re thinking it might have ended up forgotten, until now.