A couple browsing at a flea market stumbled upon something priceless.
Sitting among the assortment of watches, wind chimes, furniture, clothing was an American flag with messages written all over it. Lanie Brown couldn't believe her eyes when she saw it.
"We realized it was a flag intended for a fallen Marine," she told media in Houston.
It was dedicated to Lance Cpl. Fred Maciel, who was killed in Iraq in 2005. His comrades wrote messages to him on the flag, meant for his family. But instead of reaching Maciel's family, it ended up in a flea market in Hemphill, Texas.
Brown is the mother of one Marine and the mother-in-law of another. She knew exactly what that flag was worth.
“She [the seller] said because it had writing on it we could have it for $5. We’d have paid whatever she asked for it. It’s priceless," Brown said.
After buying the flag, Brown took to the Internet to find Maciel's family. She tracked down his mother, who lived two hours away in Humble, Texas. Maciel's mother was stunned--she had no idea the flag existed.
Brown and Patsy Maciel are planning to meet at Cpl. Maciel's gravesite Saturday, where Brown will present the flag.
According to CBS Houston, the flag contains messages such as “We’ll always remember the sacrifice you made,” and “Thank you for being who you were…Rest in peace.” Maciel's mother said she can't wait to read them.
"That's my son and I'm proud of my son," she said.
And Saturday, she said, it will be like a part of him is coming home.