Last week, an American  flag that no one knew had gone missing was returned to the McNary High School main office via the U.S. Postal Service. The package included a typed letter of apology from the Celtic grad whose guilt finally overwhelmed him or her.  School officials are hoping the sender comes forward to identify themselves. (KEIZERTIMES/ Eric A. Howald)

Last week, an American flag that no one knew had gone missing was returned to the McNary High School main office via the U.S. Postal Service. The package included a typed letter of apology from the Celtic grad whose guilt finally overwhelmed him or her. School officials are hoping the sender comes forward to identify themselves. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The package arrived at the McNary High School Monday, Nov. 2, with a typed letter and an American flag, folded military-style, beginning to show it’s age.

“A long time ago I was a silly young and immature kid attending McNary,” the letter states. “Contain(ed) within this package is a flag I took from McNary on my last day of school. I have had it for many years now and every time I move or encounter it within my (possession) I regret my actions.

“It was wrong of me to take this flag and I am sorry for taking it. I am returning to its rightful place. Please accept the returning of this flag as my acknowledgment of my wrongdoing and forgive my youthful actions that were wrong and stupid.”

The letter was signed anonymously: “Ex-McNary Graduate.”

Since its arrival, Erik Jespersen, McNary principal, has been pondering the flag’s origin.

“No one that I’ve talked to remembers a missing flag,” said Jespersen. “We really have no idea. We wish we did. I’d like to shake the hand of the person who sent it back.”

One thing is certain, the flag has been around for a while. The white spaces are now weathered and off-white, a not inconsiderable amount of dust and grime clings to the whole thing.

While returning the flag may have closed a chapter in the life of one mischievious former student, its only generated a litany of questions for Jespersen.

“I’d like to know how long its been toiling in their mind? How long had they had it? How long did it take between taking the flag and starting to feel some remorse over it? I want to know if they still have any connection to McNary? What about their guilt prompted them to send it back?” Jespersen said.

And he’s not giving up hope that the former student comes forward.

“It’s so funny to have a former student who comes up and apologizes for the way they acted in class, but I just smile because they were 15 at the time and now they’re off making their way in the world. I bet that this would be a similar situation,” Jespersen said.