“I definitely was more than happy to stop and take a little time out of my night just to fold it and give it the respect it deserves.”
These days, Margaret Dopson is accustomed to picking her American flag off the sidewalk outside her home in Mobile, Alabama. It breaks her heart every time, she told FOX10 News, and it’s one of the many reasons she installed her surveillance cameras a few years ago.
Unfortunately, the first of two scenes her cameras captured over the weekend was a familiar one. Around 2am, her camera facing east on Dauphin Street, caught a man dressed as a pirate ripping the flag down, trampling it and leaving it on the sidewalk.
She never expected what happened next. A few minutes later, a man and a woman walked by and notice the crumpled flag. Together, they picked up the flag, carefully folded it and put it on Dopson's doorstep.
Dopson was so touched by the quiet act of patriotism that she shared both videos on Facebook. “Their actions filled our hearts,” she wrote of the later.
The post quickly went viral, and in no time, the flag-folding heroes were identified. Fox10 News caught up with 24-year-old Kees Anderson and 25-year-old Nikki Thompson.
Anderson, it turns out, has worked at Mobile's Coast Guard Aviation Training Center for almost two years. He proudly wears the American flag on his uniform every day.
"That flag represents the people who serve in many ways, I definitely was more than happy to stop and take a little time out of my night just to fold it and give it the respect it deserves," said Anderson. "I'm in the Coast Guard, Search and Rescue, that's our jam, that's what we do, of course it means a lot to me."
When they came across the trampled flag, Anderson said he saw it as just another way of serving his country. Thompson was more than willing to help him.
"We were joking like Kees you're in the military, this is fate, you were born for a moment like this, let's fold it up," she told FOX10 News. "I grew up in a military family so, you respect the flag, and it's someone else's property...it belonged to someone else, it means something."
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More than anything, Anderson said it’s about respect.
"That is a symbol of what our country stands for and what these people have literally sacrificed their lives for and done heroic things for, all in the name of that flag,” he told Fox10. “It's pretty important to me, to show respect.”
We couldn’t agree more.