Theft of flags shows lack of respect

Published 7:06 pm Friday, July 11, 2014


In the common vernacular these days, lots of us could say “I am shaking my head” at the news shared by representatives of the American Legion Post 70 Auxiliary this week.

It seems thieves stole 10 American Flags from Bicentennial Park during the recent Fourth of July holiday.

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And in May, eight flags went missing from the same display during Memorial Day weekend.

These aren’t the first thefts from the public display, but American Legion members do say the thefts are increasing … and that is concerning.

Five times each year, the park on U.S. 231 is filled with more than 400 waving American Flags. For passers-by the flags offer an eye-catching display of pure American patriotism – a vignette of the pride and respect one would expect in a small town America.

To those of us who call Troy home – from the Boy Scouts who help set up and take down the displays each time to the residents who find a familar comfort in seeing these waving flags – the flag displays are reminder of what makes us proud of our hometown.

But most important, to the hundreds of Pike County residents who have purchased and donated those flags to the American Legion, the display is a visceral reminder of a deceased veteran who proudly served his or her country. These flags are donated by family members for use at Bicentennial Park, at an initial cost of $25 each. They fly in honor of fathers and sons, brothers and grandfathers who proudly served in the United States Armed Forces.

And when the flags get tattered or torn, the City of Troy has graciously born the cost of replacing them, as it is dong now when the flags have been stolen.

That, of course, is the real insult or, as one American Legion member said, the real “disservice.”

Whomever is taking these flags – most likely in an act of vandalism – is disrespecting the spirit of the display and the memory of those it serves to honor. It’s a slap in the face to our veterans, their families, and the ideals of service, honor and integrity they embodied.

It’s a sad reflection on what we suspect are a small handful of individuals in our community and their respect for others.

And it simply leaves us shaking our heads.