JoAnn Miller, left, Elaine Greene and Carmen Footer at the home they shared in Freeport. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald file photo

Carmen Footer, one of the Freeport Flag Ladies who spent 18 years alongside friends Elaine Greene and JoAnn Miller spreading their patriotic message, died on Wednesday at the age of 81, according to her obituary.

“She loved her country. She was a good patriot. She was a good mother. She was a good friend,” Greene said in an interview with News Center Maine. “We all need to live our lives to do the best we can.”

The three women were dubbed the Freeport Flag Ladies after standing on the corner of Main and School streets in Downtown Freeport waving American flags in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City. When the U.S. went to war in Iraq in 2003, Footer and her friends ramped up their support and ventured out to the same corner to wave their flags every Tuesday. The women didn’t retire their flag tradition until 2019.

Word of Footers’ passing spread across social media, as friends, neighbors, local law enforcement and politicians shared condolences for the fallen Flag Lady.

In a Thursday Facebook post, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Footer and her friends “inspired patriotism.”

“I am deeply saddened to learn of my friend’s passing and send my heartfelt condolences to her family, as well as to Elaine and JoAnn,” Collins wrote. “This trio’s legacy will endure in the hearts of the countless people they inspired and the many young people they taught to respect our flag and support our troops.”

Local police expressed their appreciation for Footer’s public service on social media as well.

“Carmen, along with the other members of the Freeport Flag Ladies, have always stood firmly in support of not only the Freeport Police Department but all members of the first responder community,” Freeport police wrote.

Greene told News Center Maine that Footer was surrounded by loved ones when she passed at the home they shared in Freeport.

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