McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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May 25, 2013

Flags become symbols of hope, unity in tornado-damaged Oklahoma

(Continued)

MOORE, Okla. —

"The day I came out after the tornado, I went in to get the flag, and I put it up," he said of the smaller flag he flew on holidays. "It made me feel better. We had a lot of people asking us if we needed help. That's why I put it up. I bought it 30 years ago and flew it from three houses. My wife and I are patriotic folks. I can't talk about it without choking up."

Other flags blew into homeowners' yards from who knows where. Deborah Martin's son, Caleb, found a torn and dirty flag, covered with bits of insulation, on the roof of his mother's house. He retrieved it and folded it, and is now driving around in the car with it until they can take it to a Boy Scout troop for a ceremony that involves cutting the flag into four parts and respectfully burning it.

After Martin found a small flag in the rubble and stuck it in a post before Woods's house, she said that she considers the flag a symbol of what is most needed in Oklahoma these days.

"It's about hope," she said. "Even though we're tattered, there's still hope."

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