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Stolen flags return to honor, presented to officers' widows (video)

By chirst
June 9, 2013 at 1:09 a.m.
Updated June 10, 2013 at 1:10 a.m.

Warrior's Weekend volunteers and veterans from several branches of the armed forces salute during the singing of the national anthem at the Field of Honor inactivation ceremony Sunday evening at Faith Family Church in Victoria. During the ceremony, the two flags recently stolen from and returned to the field were presented once again to the widows of the officers to whom they are dedicated.

Sabrena Fisher grasped a Marine Corps flag in one hand and a plaque in the other, blinking back tears as she gazed out over the vast field of American flags.

A week ago, she didn't know if she would hold the flag - the one that represents her deceased husband - again.

The flag presented at Shannon Fisher's funeral and another American flag at the Warrior's Weekend Field of Honor were stolen from the field May 28.

"I'm very excited; it probably won't ever leave my house - just the emotion of having it back, knowing that it was returned and knowing there was someone out there who has enough respect and consideration for another family to return it," Fisher said.

The flag, which flew over the Field of Honor for several years, was presented at Shannon Fisher's funeral by Col. Mike Petrash, organizer for the Field of Honor, after Shannon died in a car crash in August.

Petrash did not file a police report when the flags were stolen, just wanting the individual who took the flags to "return to honor" by giving them back.

The flags were returned in an anonymous drop-off June 4 at the field with a note that read, "Found these in my son's closet. Sorry for any pain he may have caused."

"It was very, very painful that we had lost that flag," Petrash said. "We let his family have it as their remembrance of his time at the Field of Honor. When we lost it, it was a losing a big piece of Field of Honor history. I want them to have it during this year, and maybe next year, they will loan it back to us, and we can fly it proudly at the 2014 Field of Honor."

Though she was honored to loan the flag to the field initially, Fisher said she probably won't give it out again for fear of it being stolen.

Shannon Fisher's son, currently in the Marine Corps himself, was upset when he found out his father's Marine Corps flag was stolen, she said.

The service flag of Ronnie Burden, veteran and Warrior's Weekend volunteer, was returned to his widow, Gayle Burden.

The 2013 Field of Honor was dedicated to both Shannon Fisher and Ronnie Burden.

Sunday's inactivation ceremony of the 2013 Field of Honor brings an end to the largest Warrior's Weekend Field of Honor yet, with more than 2,650 flags flying on the field and more than 2,800 sponsorships, including corporate sponsorships, purchased, Petrash said.

They ran out of room on the field at Mockingbird Lane and Sam Houston Drive and will have to reorganize how the field is designed in order to adjust for the 2014 field.

"Shannon understood what the field meant to the veterans and the wounded warriors, and he had the same passion I did. That is what caused him to be such a passionate volunteer. ... The way I describe Shannon is that all you had to do was express a desire, and Shannon would go about a way of finding, making it happen," Petrash said, thankful that their prayers for the return of the flags were answered.



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