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CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Drill and ceremony are commonplace to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who have served the nation. In Afghanistan, however, the necessities of war can put these ceremonial traditions aside.
But a Marine with Regimental Combat Team 7 here keeps one of those traditions alive each night by honoring the American flag.
Cpl. Brandon Harper, Headquarters Company clerk, volunteered to raise and lower the flag each evening at the team’s headquarters.
The flags fly around the clock here, but Marines choose to dedicate flags flown to the friends and families who support them at home. This is where Harper stepped up.
He takes the request, flies the flag on the date requested, and prints out the official certificate from the regiment that accompanies the flag.
“I think it’s an honor,” said Harper, a 29-year-old Detroit native. “I have learned a lot about the correct drill movements and respect of the flag.”
Honor is a word often spoken by and about Harper.
“I would describe him as honorable,” said Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Marshall. “He tries to always do the right thing in every situation.”
Harper’s work situation isn’t a normal one. He is a radio operator by trade, but now works as an administrative clerk. His job involves making reports and tracking annual training for all Marines in the company while performing various daily administrative tasks.
“He has done a great job with his responsibilities,” Marshall said. “When he doesn’t know how to do something administrative, he always researches it and finds a way to get it done.”
Harper said he has learned many things on this deployment, including proper drill movements for raising and folding the flag. In the future, he added, he wants to be a financial planner and is using his free time to work on his degree in finance.
Harper said he is grateful to be deployed.
“I find honor in it, that we are over here,” he said. “It gives all of us a chance to become better at what we do, and increase attributes like our honor and courage.”