Man Finds $5 American Flag At Flea Market, Sees Writing On Stripes And Goes On A Mission
Patsy Maciel stated that her son, who died in Iraq almost ten years ago, sent her a message through a very special American flag.
The flag, which featured messages written by her son’s platoon mates, should have been given to Patsy when her 20-year-old son died in a helicopter crash. However, the flag instead found its way to a flea market hundreds of miles away.
Because of the messages penned on it, the flag was only priced at $5.
55-year-old Patsy, who lives in Houston, was emotionally ready to receive the flag by the time she finally got it.
She stated that it was a sign from her son that she needed to start healing.
Patsy told TODAY.com: “If this happened any earlier, there’s no way I would have been able to go out there and receive it because I was an absolute basket case. Now, my heart is at peace.”
Patsy stated that her son, and divine intervention, helped Lanie and Walter Brown get the flag home.
The couple was at a flea market in Hemphill, Texas, earlier in the month when they found the flag. According to Lanie, it was a miracle that they were even there because her husband can’t stand such places.
She said with a laugh: “If it’s not Home Depot or Collectors Firearms, he doesn’t stop and shop.”
However, he was looking for a holster when they decided to head to the flea market.
“The first room we walked into had a stack of American flags. My husband starts going through them and he says, ‘Lanie, come here. Look at this one. It’s got writing on it,’” she recalled.
They realized that the messages were dedicated to a fallen lance corporal.
The Browns’ son and a son-in-law are in the Marines, so they recognized the title that was mentioned repeatedly.
“We’ll always remember the sacrifice you made. God Bless,” one message read.
“We’ll miss those cheeks,” a second read.
Another person wrote: “I promise we will see each other again.”
Other flags were priced at $15 to $30, but this flag had no price tag. The seller offered to sell it at $5 because of the writings, and the couple seized the deal.
Lanie stated: “If they asked us for $100 we would have given them a $100 bill. It was priceless to us because we knew it meant something.”
When they got home, her son recognized the tribute flag, which is signed by the platoon members of a fallen Marine. Normally, the flag is packed along with the serviceman’s personal items, a letter from his commander and mailed to his family.
They identified the tribute flag as Lance Cpl. Fred Maciel’s. The Brown family tracked down his obituary and eventually his mother on Facebook. They sent her message to let her know they had her son’s tribute flag.
Patsy called them immediately and the two families spoke for over an hour. This sparked a series of phone calls until they finally set up a day to meet.
They finally met in person at Fred’s gravesite, just outside of Houston, on Saturday evening.
After giving a short speech, Lani gave Patsy a small box with the flag inside. The two women started crying.
“When we hugged each other, I felt as if I’ve known her our whole lives. I finally had this feeling of peace,” Patsy said.
Lanie stated that she sensed Patsy’s spirits lifting.
She said: “She was beaming from ear to ear. She was in a very happy place.”
Patsy stated that she’d quietly told her sister that she feared she was starting to forget what her son looked like.
“Now, he’s everywhere. This is Fred telling me, ‘No, Mom. I’m not going to let you forget,'” she stated.
She stated that the occasion brought the entire family together, just like Fred would have wanted.
“Fred was all about getting the whole family together and playing basketball or football or whatever it took to have a good time. And he did that again. The whole family was together again,” she said. “The family has this piece of him now and my heart is finally healing.”