Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 9:00 PM on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thieves keep stealing flags from Veterans Memorial

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

Thieves have again stolen a flag from the Gen. Buckner Veterans Memorial at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Last week, the American Legion Post 16, which helps provide flags for the memorial, reported an Alaska flag was stolen. U.S. flags have been taken about 10 times in the past six months, including three flags stolen around Veterans Day last November and another one in January, said Darlene Sheldon, a legion volunteer. Thieves also have stolen railing flags and bunting put around the memorial.

"This has got to stop. This is getting ridiculous," Sheldon said.

Flags fly all the time, and are lit at night. The all-weather flags cost about $50 and generally need to be replaced three or four times a year when they become tattered and worn. The cost of the flags comes out of the American Legion's budget, which affects support for legion programs like scholarships, assistance to veterans and donations to the Homer Food Pantry, Sheldon said.

The flags are raised and lowered using a cable-and-pulley system. A locked box over the bottom pulley to prevent tampering and theft was pried open.

Sheldon said if people are desperate for a flag, they don't have to steal them.

"If somebody wants a flag, they could probably come by the Elks, VFW or Legion and we'd give them one," she said.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.