'Really nasty of someone to steal a flag on the Fourth of July'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Jean Rabern wanted to get into patriotic spirit on the Fourth of July.

"We were going to a picnic, to go watch fireworks, and noticed all the flags were around and said, 'Oh, we have a flag,'" Rabern said.

And not just any flag.

Her son-in-law, U.S. Army helicopter pilot Sean Belcher, gave the Raberns an American flag flown over Iraq during the changeover from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn.

"They gave it to us as a symbol of pride in what they do and what he does," Rabern said. "It's special because it was from him."

Rabern had kept the flag in a box but decided to share in the holiday spirit.

"This is the first time I brought it out thinking, 'Well, we should be flying this,'" she said.

She put up the flag and enjoyed the rest of her Fourth.

The next morning, the flag was gone.

"I was very upset," Rabern said. "I thought it was really nasty of someone to steal a flag on the Fourth of July.

"Why would anybody do that?" she said. "I don't understand that really. After all, it's a special flag to us - but it's just a flag."