Tribute flag found at sale, returned to Marine's family

HUMBLE, Texas (KHOU) -- A couple who discovered a tribute flag for a fallen Marine at a Texas flea market presented it to his mother Saturday, more than nine years after he was killed in Iraq.

Lanie and Walter Brown gave the flag to Patsy Maciel before a small crowd gathered at the grave of Lance Cpl. Fred Maciel in the northern Houston suburb of Humble.

The Browns bought the flag for $5 after finding it tucked away earlier this month in the corner of a flea market in Hemphill, about 170 miles from Houston. The flag has about two dozen messages written by other Marines for Maciel, who was 20 when he died in a helicopter crash in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005.

He was one of 31 American servicemen killed in the crash, which occurred during a sandstorm. It was among the single largest loss of American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We'll always remember the sacrifice you made," one message says. Another says, "Thank you for being who you were ... Rest in peace."

Walter Brown, whose own son is a Marine, said he knew he had to get it home,CBS affiliate KHOU reported.


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