LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin attorney Bob Flournoy wore the same patriotic tie for seven years. He vowed to do so after the September 11th attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four commercial passenger jetliners.
"At the time I didn't think that was a big commitment. I thought, surely, we're the United States of America, we'll get him. He's just one man," Flournoy said in a 2007 interview with KTRE-TV.
Shortly after the attacks, Flournoy vowed to wear the same tie, a memento from the 2000 Republican National Convention, every day until Osama bin Laden was captured or dead.
That expectation was only weeks, which turned into years.
"Four years came and five years came and six years came and by now it's completely worn out and you've seen it, so you know there's not much left to it and so I was trying to find a way to get out of this story," he said.
The flimsy tie itself had developed celebrity.
"So many people knew about it that I couldn't just stop wearing it," he said.
So when the brittle threads began to wear thin... A seamstress, a real life Betsy Ross came to the rescue.
Eventually, those repairs gave way. So Flournoy set out to stop the terrorist and keep his promise.
"We came up with a scheme to invite bin Laden to come to the city hall park, Spirit of America Garden, and I would challenge him on September 11, 2007," Flournoy said.
Bin Laden was a no-show.
City leaders eventually pardoned the tie, allowing him to take it off.
When word of bin Laden's death rallied crowds at Lufkin City Hall, Flournoy plucked it from the archives to wear one last time.
"I don't know how you officially retire the tie, so the only thing I could do was give it to the mayor again and tell them that I promise that I would never wear it again," he said.
The fabric may have faded, but Flournoy's patriotism is as bright as ever.
Almost 10 years later, Flournoy can finally put his heart and mind at ease. The now famous tie has seen better days. It looks as though it put up a good fight. The patriotic symbol is frayed, weathered, and held together in part by Velcro.
The story traveled all over the world. Flournoy received ties from people as far away as Iraq. So many, that he says he'll never have to wear the same tie for the rest of his life.