Tribute Flag to Fallen Marine Returned to his Family


By Ann Rowland

Lance Cpl. Fred Maciel was just 20 years old when he was killed in a helicopter crash in Fallujah in 2005.  His fellow Marines made a tribute flag to honor Maciel, writing their thoughts and condolences for the fallen Marine on the flag.  The flag was intended for his family but somehow ended up in an East Texas flea market.  Now, thanks to the couple who bought the flag, it will finally be brought home to Maciel’s mother on Saturday.

“We realized that it was a flag intended for a fallen Marine,” Lanie Brown told KPRC Houston.  Lanie and her husband, Walter, were at a flea market in East Hemphill, Texas when they saw the flag sitting in a corner of a booth.  Asking price….just $5.00, marked down because of the writing on the flag.

“We’d have paid whatever she asked for it.  It’s priceless”, Lanie said.

The Browns feel a special connection with Maciel and his family because they are a family of Marines themselves.  Their son and son-in-law are both Marines.  In fact, their son-in-law was in Iraq at the time that Maciel was killed.

The Brown’s didn’t stop with rescuing the flag from a flea market.  “We felt an immediate need and responsibility to this back to them (Maciel’s family)”, Lanie said.  “When you’re a Marine mom or Marine dad, all other Marine moms and dads are your brothers and sisters, and all Marine kids are your kids, too.”

So, she took to social media, Facebook, to try and find the family of this fallen Marine.  She eventually found Maciel’s mother, Patsy, living just outside of Houston.

“I never knew it existed and here this flag is in a flea market over 2 hours away from me.  Nobody knows how it got there,” Fred’s mom, Patsy Maciel, told KPRC Houston.

This Saturday the Browns will drive to Lance Cpl. Fred Maciel’s final resting place in Humble, Texas and present the flag to his mother.  Patsy said that her son had told her that he was “born to be a Marine.”  After his death, she eventually had to come to accept that her son died doing what he loved.

“It’s kind of like a piece of my son….coming back to me,” Patsy said.

Read more here. Image Courtesy KPRC video.

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