September 11th Traveling Flag Goes Full Circle
COLUMBIA- Hector Maldonado was in Columbia for a canned food drive Wednesday to benefit victims of the Joplin tornado. Madonado has been in the Missouri National Guard for 15 years. He was born in Mexico, but has more pride for his country than most people born in the United States of America.
Ten years ago, he was given a brand new American flag. He flew it for the first time on September 11th, 2001, when he was a commander in search and rescue at the World Trade Center. The flag flew for two months at ground zero. In Dec. 2003, he took the same flag to Iraq. He brought the same flag to Afghanistan in 2008. Maldonado loves to raise his flag everywhere he goes, including when he went to Joplin for the National Guard after the tornado in May.
Maldonado said his flag gives him and other Americans hope to get through difficult times. In the Spring, he is traveling to New York City to visit the World Trade Center memorial and give his flag to the museum. He thinks his flag has now traveled full circle with him on his journey, and he wants it to end up where it started.