Couple Finds Fallen Marine’s Tribute Flag at Flea Market, Tracks Down the Marine’s Family


Lanie and Walter Brown were simply browsing through old possessions at a Texas flea market when they discovered something interesting: an American flag with writing scrawled all over it. It didn’t take them long to figure out that the writing was dedicated to a fallen marine and the flag meant to go to that same marine’s family.

The writing included touching messages like “Thank you for being who you were…Rest in peace,” and “We’ll always remember the sacrifice you made.”

The couple immediately knew they had to buy it, no matter what the price. While other flags were selling for $15, the person in charge of the flea market said they could take that one for only five dollars, since it had writing on it.

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

From the writing, they managed to figure out that the tribute flag was intended for a marine named Lance Corporal Fred Maciel. With this information, they searched for the family on the internet and got hold of an address near Houston, only two hours away from Beaumont.

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

After speaking on the phone, Patsy and the Browns met in person on Saturday at her son’s gravesite in Humble. There, Patsy will receive the tribute flag she should have gotten over a decade ago.

The Browns felt an immediate connection to Maciel and her son as soon as they saw the flag, as their son was in the marines during the same time Fred Maciel was.

“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,” Lanie Brown said.