There are still people in America to whom the red, white and blue of the flag are more than just colors on a piece of cloth.
Katie Marks is one of those people, and that’s why her trip to a Peddler’s Mall store in Bardstown, Kentucky, began an odyssey of patriotism that has connected Marks with people a state away she never knew existed until last week.
Marks was shopping when she noticed a folded American flag for sale that was dedicated to veteran Samuel A. Steward, Fox News reported.
“Sitting on top of this plastic shelf with other little trinkets was a flag with someone’s name and a date, and it definitely looked out of place,” she said, according to WHAS-TV in Louisville.
Marks was jarred by seeing a priceless relic set out for sale for $45.
“How do you attribute any kind of value to something like this to say, ‘OK, this is worth X amount of dollars. I’m going to try and make this money off it?'” she said.
“There’s no reason he should be sold at a peddlers mall — his flag, anyway,” she said, according to WAVE-TV in Louisville.
Marks said the flag made a deep impression on her.
“And then for a few days I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” she said.
Marks learned after she bought the flag that it had been presented to Steward’s family in July 2004 by a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Petersburg, Indiana. The family had suffered hard times and had been forced to sell the contents of a storage unit where the flag was stored.
“The storage unit that they had ended up being one of those that had to get pushed back to the side. The storage unit contained the flag along with birth certificates and old family photos, and they lost it,” she said.
Marks said she planned to bring the flag to the family, but she also set up a GoFundMe account to help them. In two days, it had raised over $1,600, far exceeding the $1,000 goal.
“As a community, I have faith we can come together for this grieving family who has suffered such great loss, and return Uncle Sam’s flag along with a great surprise of financial assistance to ease their burdens,” she wrote on the page.
Patriots are never made – they're born that way….https://t.co/a2GzGAhXOM
— WFM Comments (@MacOne1948) July 31, 2018
“You almost feel an emotional connection to the name, to the person behind the flag,” she said, adding that Steward died at the age of 40 after serving in the Army. “Every soldier deserves to go home.”
Marks said that she felt her actions were part of her duty as a citizen.
“The military has just always been really near and dear to my heart. I love my country … whatever may be going on. We are all the United States of America,” Marks said.
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