20-year-old flag goes missing on Veteran’s Day
Derek Duke, a resident of Statesboro, Georgia, flew the same American flag outside his home for the past 20 years. This is until is disappeared from his front yard on Veteran’s Day. Duke received the flag from a fellow Air Force veteran, Major General Robert Stephens, who he met at the Moody Air Force base in the late 1960’s.
The two men, graduating from rival Georgia colleges, ended up at seat mates in their Air Force training and remained friends ever since. Following their service, both men became commercial pilots for then- Easter Airlines and later taught others their trade as instructor pilots. Stephens gave the flag to Duke when his friend retired from the Air Force Reserves. This special flag once flew over the U.S. capital. Stephen’s died of cancer last year.
In honor of the Georgia Southern Eagles’ homecoming game, Duke flew the flag outside his home on November 10 with the intention of taking it down before sunset. Due to a number of unforeseen distractions, Duke simply forgot and woke up the next day to find his precious keepsake gone. “It was probably a spur of the moment kinda thing,” Duke said.
However, his son is not so calm over the whole matter. He launched an appeal for action via his Facebook page, hoping the thief will get the message and realize the sentimental value of the flag. The flag stolen from a veteran’s home means so much more to Duke than any thief could fathom.