JROTC students return Marine banner, colors to unit - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

JROTC students return Marine banner, colors to unit

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It's usually the older fellows who pass the banner to the next generation, but Wednesday, vets went to Ashley Ridge High School to get their banner back.

The Marine banner and colors went missing when someone stole John Sigh's truck back in September.

Cadet Garrett Smith and his JROTC unit found the streamers while doing litter pickup along a highway.

"They thought it was a kite at first, they thought it was trash and lo and behold, it wasn't," Smith said.

Whoever took the truck apparently tossed the flags in a ditch. After seeing Sigh's interview, Smith's family knew exactly who they belonged to.

"There's a lot of respect for certain things and your unit colors are one of them," Smith said.

So naturally just handing the colors over wouldn't do, so a ceremony was in order. It was a ceremony Vietnam vet Jesse James didn't want to miss.

"It was important to me to get our staff, flag, and streamers back," said James. "Because of the effort and years it took to accumulate those streamers. They just can't be replaced."

The ceremony might seem overly elaborate to some, but not to anyone in the room.

"We do realize the service these people gave," Smith said. "After reading what they sad about not wanting the truck back they just wanted their colors, it struck home with us because if we lost ours we'd also be heartbroken."

"People diss the youth of the country, but you got kids like this willing to serve, that's pretty cool," said Sigh.

For now, the vets will hold on to their banner until Smith and his friends are old enough to carry it themselves.

"It's something I aspire to," Smith said."To be in the military and have that kind of a family. To have that kind of devotion is very inspiring."

Sigh said in that interview he wanted his colors back and didn't care about the truck, but deputies found it anyway. He'll be getting that back as well.

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