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'Someone had pulled the flag down off the pole and burned it'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Several months ago, 1st Sgt. Reginald Daniels volunteered to install a new playground at the Brattain Early Learning Center.

As he was leaving the school, he noticed the school did not have an American flag on its flagpole.

Daniels brought a flag and donated it to the school.

"I say here, take this, display it in front of the school. I think it would be good for the community to see that," he recalled.

On Friday morning last week, one of his fellow active duty Marines got a call from the school.

"They needed a price tag on the flag," Daniels said, "and I was like, 'Why do they need that?' And they said that the flag was burned."

Someone had burned the flag and left it flying at half-staff.

Daniels went to the school and entered their staff meeting.

"Some of the teachers kind of teared up a little bit and then they took me in to the back room and showed me the flag that was burned," Daniels said. "I was lost for words to see that someone had pulled the flag down off the pole and burned it."

Daniels went back to his office, got a new flag and gave it to the school.

"The flag represents something a lot bigger than all the military services," he said. "We put the uniform on to protect it, so that you and I and the little kids in the school can have something better. "It's bigger than you taking the time to burn the flag in our own country."

Daniel, a married father of 2 kids who has served 3 tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, said he wants the community to know about what happened.

"I love this country and what it stands for. I know everybody has their views, but I think everybody can have something that they can look proudly at, and that's - I take pride in the flag," he said. "Someone out there thinks that this is OK. And this is the exact reason why I wear this uniform, so that - to show them that it's not."

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