WHITE SWAN, Wash. (KOIN) — A Washington man’s Facebook post asking for help finding an American flag signed by his fallen son has gone viral.

Shawn Marceau of White Swan said the flag was stolen from his truck along with other items including a laptop in late February, early April — but he only recently turned to Facebook for help.

“From what we gathered, they used the flag as a satchel to carry everything,” Shawn told KOIN 6 News.

Joe Jackson in uniform. (Courtesy: Shawn Marceau)

Initially, Shawn, a veteran Marine, didn’t realize the flag was stolen. He often takes it to memorials and other places to share his son’s story. However, after tearing apart his house, he realized the flag was in his truck when someone smashed the passenger side window.

He posted a picture of the flag — signed by his fallen son and his comrades — on Friday. As of Monday afternoon, it had more than 42,000 shares from people across the country.

His son, 22-year-old Joe Jackson, died in combat on April 24, 2011. He was in Sangin, Afghanistan. 

Part of the significance of the flag is that the entire platoon signed it.

For the last 7 1/2 years, Shawn Marceau said he has visited his son's grave every Tuesday. (Courtesy: Shawn Marceau)

“All the guys signed it as a memento, and these were the guys that were together when they into the fight,” Shawn said.

Shawn said his son’s comrades carried the flag and his son’s recovered knife for about seven months before one of Joe’s best friends hand-delivered the items in November 2011.

While the thief may not have realized it, the flag has incredible sentimental value to Shawn and his family.

“It’s priceless to me. Every time we lose something from our son, it pulls us farther away,” Shawn said. “Every little thing we can hold onto and cherish — it’s something we have.” 

Shawn said he just wants the flag back and is even trying to gather some money for a reward.

A photo of Joe Jackson courtesy of Shawn Marceau.

When asked if he had a message for the thief, Shawn said, “No questions asked. Return it. Leave it at my porch, leave it at the courthouse with a note, leave it somewhere.”

While losing his son’s flag has been incredibly hard, Shawn said he’s completely shocked by the response from everyone.

“It’s really breathtaking the output of love, it’s really unbelievable,” Shawn said. “I didn’t think it was going to effect everyone the way it did. I just want to thank everybody.”

Even if the flag isn’t found, Shawn said he’ll continue to share his son’s story.

“I won’t let him be forgotten as long as I’m standing,” Shawn said.