OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- When an 8-year-old Oceanside boy noticed that an American flag flying above the city pier was tatterend and torn, he immediately launched a campaign to rectify the situation.

"The Young Marines promotes discipline, leadership, and teamwork," young Luke Smith said.

Luke already possesses those qualities, and he wears his Eagle Young Marines uniform with pride. The group, sponsored by the Marine Corps League, is similar in many ways to the Boy Scouts. It promotes academic, physical and character development.

When Luke was participating in a 5K run at the Oceanside Pier, he noticed something that bothered him.

"I was actually standing right under this pier at the starting line. I looked up at the flag and noticed it was all ripped up and tattered," he said.

So Luke used those leadership and teamwork skills to make a difference by writing the following hand-written letter:

"Dear Mr. Mayor,

During my last visit to the pier, while I was looking around, I saw the American flag at the top of the pole waving in the breeze. I felt proud, then I was sad. The flag was all ripped up and tattered. I think it was disrespectful to our country and the people who fight for it. I would be pleased if you would replace it.

Thank you, sir, for your attention.

Your friend, Luke Smith, 8 years old"

 

When Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood saw the letter, he took action.

"Because of all the cutbacks within the City of Oceanside, like everywhere else, we don't have the eyes and ears out there like we used to. So, we have a young lad like this who spotted a problem- a tattered flag in the City of Oceanside -- in a military town, it was fantastic," Wood said . "It was something that bothered him and I thought it was great. I gave it to the city manager and replaced the flag."

Wood sent Smith a letter of proclamation, which Smith said he will cherish every day, especially this Memorial Day weekend.

"I wish to all of you watching a happy Memorial Day weekend," said Luke.