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CLEBURNE -- First, he opens a warehouse door. Then, opens a storage bin. And he hopes what's inside opens America's eyes.

Bundled inside the bins are about 100,000 small American flags.

"This is the Dallas flags," Bob Fussner said, pointing to the left side of the warehouse, "and we've got Houston."

Fussner, of Cleburne, used to be bothered by what he didn't see at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery each Memorial Day. That site was one of a handful of national cemeteries that didn't have organized volunteers placing an American flag on every grave, every year.

"The biggest misconception is the Veterans Administration does it," he said. "They do a great job, but they don't have the money to do this. This is volunteer."

In April 2012, he started raising money to buy flags, and just one month later, he had met his goal. On Memorial Day 2012, the flags went up.

"It was breathtaking," he said. "It was actually quite emotional."

A few days later, volunteers took the flags down. He brought them back to the warehouse hoping to use them all for 2013. But daily watering and hot sun at the cemetery meant some weren't salvageable.

He started raising money again, with his eyes on a bigger prize.

"Our plan all along has been that we're gonna take care of the two that don't do it in Texas first -- Dallas was one, Houston the other. So we're doing Houston this year," he said.

Saturday, a truck will leave the Cleburne warehouse with almost 65,000 of the flags. Sunday morning, Fussner and hundreds of volunteers will place the flags inside Houston's national cemetery.

Another set of volunteers will do the same thing in Dallas with the remaining flags.

And he's not done.

"Next year is Florida," he said. "There's still 10 others out of 126 that don't place flags."

He's vowing to add another cemetery each year until every one is covered. He's created a non-profit, called Flags for Fallen Vets, with a website and a Facebook page.

Fussner doesn't see himself as anything special.

"Just the spark, so to speak," he said.

But he is. He's a Marine.

And Marines always complete a mission.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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