Firefighters Surprise Veteran by Replacing Worn U.S. Flag

The moment James “Big Jim” Coleman’s American flag got entangled on his flagpole when high winds swept through the area, he knew something had to be done.

However, he did not dream he would get such a heartwarming response from the West Valley City firefighters, KUTV reported Monday.

Seventy-three-year-old Coleman is a Vietnam War veteran and West Valley City, Utah, resident. He initially noticed his flag was torn and flying upside down on the flagpole last week.

He tried to untangle it while standing on a ladder, but the flag was caught on the bald eagle figure at the top of the pole.

Coleman contacted a flag company, which quoted him $200 to remedy the situation, but he declined the offer. He eventually called the West Valley City Fire Department for help.

“I thought to myself, ‘nah, they ain’t gonna do it,’” Coleman recalled during an interview with the outlet. “They’re busy with important stuff like saving lives – they ain’t got time to help an old-timer like me.”

It did not take long before Coleman heard a knock on his front door and saw a group of firefighters there to help save and retire the flag.

There is a certain etiquette for disposing of a flag in a dignified way, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

“My jaw was all the way on the floor,” Coleman explained, adding, “Here were these firefighters at my door saying, ‘we’re here to help you and your flag.’”

The firefighters used their ladder platform from the fire truck to untangle his flag from the top of the pole, and Coleman said they folded his flag in military fashion, then gave it to him.

‘WE JUST LIKE TO SEE OUR VETS HAPPY’: 🇺🇸 When a Vietnam War veteran’s flag was mangled by recent storms, West Valley City firefighters stepped up to get it replaced.DETAILS:

Posted by KUTV 2News on Monday, January 3, 2022

Coleman thanked them and went back inside, but 30 minutes later, the firefighters returned with a flag they bought for him.

“I was just elated and even started tearing up a bit,” he said after they replaced his old one. “A ‘thank you’ just doesn’t seem enough to fit the bill.”

The firefighters also refused reimbursement.

“They told me, ‘we just like to see our vets happy,’” Coleman said.

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