American flags, hoisted in honor of Whitfield County’s veterans on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States, were desecrated in the district court over the weekend, organizers of the honor said.
George Lo Greco, chairman of United We Stand – the organization responsible for hanging flags on patriotic holidays and events since 1991 – said that while the flags are regularly displayed on such occasions, they are special.
Each had a card with the name of a Whitfield County veteran that was paid for by their families. Some of them bore the names of veterans who were missing or listed as prisoners of war on the occasion of the National Prisoner of War Recognition Day / MIA, which will take place on Friday.
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“Who could do that? Whoever did it is sick,” said Lo Greco’s wife, Nancy Lo Greco, on Tuesday. “These are supposed to be memorials to people who have served our country, and instead of letting them be, they are doing this. They are totally, totally sick. I can’t believe anyone would do that. People have their perspective on it lost.” World. They really do. “
According to Lo Greco, a Dalton firefighter was the first to notice the flags were not where they should be on Saturday morning. The firefighter, Gary Stanley, had taken his son to the courthouse to see the flags so he could explain what happened on September 11, 2001.
When Stanley saw what had been done, he immediately called Lo Greco and the police and fire department. All responded immediately, finding that flags had been ripped from the ground, thrown into trees and bushes – and in some cases even torn from the poles entirely.
“They ripped off some of the missing officers’ flags,” said Lo Greco. “We believe that at least six of these flags are missing and we are not yet sure how many of the others have disappeared.”
Under the 775 flags, the organizers determine how many were destroyed and which ones. The cost of the replacement is expected to be around $ 600 so far, he said, though that depends on how many flags and masts are actually gone.
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The police are investigating, Lo Greco said, and will be checking camera footage from the area to find out who is responsible. Two private individuals who want to remain nameless have also volunteered with their own funds.
One has agreed to buy replacement flags for those who go missing and another plans to offer a reward for information about who tore the flags.
“That gives me hope, it does,” said Nancy Lo Greco. “No matter what these people tried or what they meant, there are people here who won’t let them get away and fight for those who fought for them. That matters.”
Contact Kelcey Caulder at [email protected] or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.