Tribute flag saluting fallen Marine reaches his mom — 9 years after his death

A Texas couple has returned a fallen Marine’s tribute flag to his mother, nine years after his death in Iraq.

Lanie and Walter Brown found the flag at a flea market and bought it for $5, moved by the hand-written messages that covered it, according to ABC affiliate KTRK.

“We were like oh my God! Why wasn’t this with the man’s mother?” Lanie Brown told KTRK. “We need to get it back to her.”

Lance Cpl. Fred Lee Maciel, 20, was killed in a helicopter crash in Fallujah, Iraq in 2005. His mother, Patsy Maciel, was presented with an official flag to drape his coffin during funeral services. She received his other belongings, but never knew of the tribute flag.

The flag contains heartfelt messages written on it in tribute of the fallen soldier by members of his unit.

“Proud to have served in the company of heroes,” one message said.

“Thanks for being an outstanding Marine,” said another.

The Browns, a Marine family themselves, connected with Maciel through social media and presented the flag to her on Saturday.

“It’s a piece of my son coming back to me. It feels great and I love them for that. I don’t have my son but at least I have this,” Maciel told KTRK.

It’s unclear where the flag has been for the past nine years.

Watch the report here via Fox News:

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