The small scrap of fabric featured a small stitched star on a background of faded blue-gray.
A woman had given it to Vaughn Moore as he walked along the side of the road, carrying an American flag. Pinned to the back of the packet was a note.
“I am part of our American flag that has flown over a home in Indiana. I can no longer fly. The sun and wind have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten.”
Moore read the note over and over, trying to comprehend what had just happened. As a veteran of the U.S. Army, he felt a special connection. But he couldn’t believe that a stranger would do something so moving for him.
“I was touched. I had to wipe away a few tears,” he said. “I was honored by her little gift.”
Moore is a walker, roaming the roads around his White River Township home nearly every day. On days of remembrance, such as Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, he carries a flag with him.
“I try to pay a small personal tribute,” he said.
People often honk and wave, giving their support, Moore said. But this was the first time someone had stopped to give him a gift.
Moore was walking with his flag on Friday in honor of those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. In the area around Mullinix and Travis roads, a car pulled up to him, asking if he was a veteran.
When he said he was, the woman handed him a small packet. Inside was the piece of the flag and the note.
“The background was so faded. I guess it was blue at one time, but you couldn’t tell anymore,” he said.
Moore and the woman chatted for a few moments. She explained that she was a veteran herself, serving for four years. But before exchanging more information, another car came up behind them and their meeting was cut short.
“I don’t know if it was this lady’s personal tribute, or if a veterans organization had something going. But it was special,” he said.
As a child, he had delivered papers to wounded veterans being treated at the veterans hospital in Indianapolis. He recalls how important it was to those men that people remembered them, that their injuries and service were appreciated.
Even more so, it’s important to do that today, he said.
Moore plans to figure out a way to wear the remnant of flag to church, either as a lapel button or some other decoration.
“If we can get more people to think about it, they’ll take care of their duties and go out to spend some time with a veteran,” he said.