Dozens of American flags at Los Angeles veterans park torched by arsonist…



Barbara Wright showed FOX 11 a now torched container at a Granda Hills Veteran’s Park which was set on fire late Sunday morning with at least 50 American flags inside.

The container was set up at the park last year, by Eagle Scouts, old and torn American flags that needed to be properly retired. Ronald Wright, Barbara Wrights son, created the Eagle Scout project and has since joined the United States Army, Fox News reports.

The Boy Scouts hold flag ceremonies to retire old or damaged flags, which is done in accordance to U.S. flag regulations and is done in a “respectful” manner, according to the Boy Scouts.

Arson Investigator’s with the Los Angeles Fire Department believe an arsonist deliberately set fire to the container at Granada Hills Veterans Park.


The VFW lists proper Flag Disposal ceremony as:

1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.

2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.

3. Place the flag on the fire.

4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.

5. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.

6. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.

Deliberately burning or damaging a flag without the ceremony is considered desecration.  Please contact your local VFW Post if you’d like assistance or more information on proper flag disposal.

This process is used mainly for individuals retiring their personal flags, at home. But what if you don’t feel comfortable burning your flag on your own? What if you don’t know how to properly fold a flag? (You can find that out here by the way) Or more logically…what if you simply can’t build a fire on your property?

Specific United States government organizations offer services to conduct the ceremony to properly dispose of flags for no charge, upon request.

The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy and Girl Scouts of America and the US Military all provide this service. If you don’t have access to any of these organizations, contact your city hall or local government.

“It was just appalling that somebody would do such a thing to our flag, our nation’s symbol, it was devastating.  My son was very upset about it and he just wants to see it restored to its original status.” ~ Barbara Wright

“We have collected so many flags from within the first week of it being placed here,” she added, estimating at least 1,000 flags have been collected over the past year.

Erik Scott, captain with the LAFD, told the news station that his department will take over the task of properly retiring the torched flags.

“It was important for firefighters to ensure that those American flags have the proper ceremonial disposal,” he said. “That’s exactly what the local firefighters are doing for those flags.”

A suspect has been taken into custody.

18 U.S. Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties

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(1)Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(2)This subsection does not prohibit any conduct consisting of the disposal of a flag when it has become worn or soiled.

In United States v. Eichman, which was decided years ago, on June 11, 1990, the Supreme Court once again ruled that burning the flag was an example of constitutionally protected free speech.

So when does it become a criminal act to burn or desecrate the United States Flag?

State laws vary though in some form they deal with the misuse, abuse, and desecration of flags.  Most state laws specify that flag desecration is only a crime if the person intentionally or knowingly does it.

A few states limit the crime of flag desecration to those cases where the act might incite violence in others.

AFF’s Huny Badger is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.



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