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Vandals Burning Flags in Kettering
KETTERING -- Residents in the Glenmina Drive area of town are fuming over some ill-timed vandalism.
Neighbors say someone burned at least five flags about midnight Thursday in the southeast section of Kettering.
John Collins said he was out picking up sticks in his yard when he noticed his flag was burned.
"I'm very upset because it's the Fourth of July," Collins said. "We are putting our flags out for patriotism. It kind of dampens your holiday spirit when somebody wants to do this to your flag. My parents, grandparents fought and died for this flag and gave us a right to have it here. We are trying to be patriotic and do the right thing here but somebody for some unknown and ridiculous reason decides to deface and burn them."
Several of the homes in his neighborhood have flags in front, but only the ones on his street were burnt. Neighbors say it's because Glenmina Drive gets so dark at night with lot of trees but not a lot of street lights.
"You got to be kidding me," said Dor-Wood Optimist Club Avenue of Flags chairman David Mills. "Really?"
The Dor-Wood Optimist Club replaced the five flags at no cost to the residents
"To have them burned is mind boggling," said Mills. "The one flag was really burned and the other four were burned on the bottom."
Even though burning an American flag is considered free speech in protest, these arsonists could face criminal damaging charges since they were on someone else's property.
"What they did is illegal. That is an arson. That is not their property. They did not have the right to burn it," said Kettering Police Lt. Craig Moore. "We are asking anyone who was out last night in that area, who might have seen a car, seen people or seen anything to contact us. "That one lead could wrap this whole thing up."
The Dor-Wood Optimist Club Avenue of Flags is a service organization for kids of Kettering. Residents pay them a yearly fee to place these flags out five times a year: Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July.
"This is the time to celebrate our freedom and our freedom is flying a flag and have it left unharmed," said Collins. "Whoever did this I hope they understand the consequences they can face."
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