American flags stolen from California veterans cemetery over Memorial Day weekend

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An alternate smaller American flag flies over the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Los Angeles, Monday, May 31, 2020. Authorities said a huge American flag and several smaller flags were stolen from a Southern California veterans cemetery over the Memorial Day weekend. Les Melnyk, a spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration, said the garrison flag at Los Angeles National Cemetery was reported stolen sometime late Sunday or early Monday. Veterans Affairs police are investigating the theft of the flag, which measures 25 feet by 30 feet, Melnyk said. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities said a huge American flag and several smaller flags were stolen from a Southern California veterans cemetery over the Memorial Day weekend.

Les’ Melnyk, a spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration, said the garrison flag at Los Angeles National Cemetery was reported stolen sometime late Sunday or early Monday.

The cemetery’s gates were closed at the time, Melnyk said.

Veterans Affairs police are investigating the theft of the flag, which measures 25 feet by 30 feet (7.6 meters by 9.1 meters), Melnyk said.

The crime “cannot detract in the slightest way from the honor and respect we pay on this Memorial Day to those service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” Melnyk said.

Rebekah Adams, a volunteer at the Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Foundation, said it would be difficult to remove the flag that is usually handled by three people.

“It’s so sad and shocking something like this would happen on Memorial Day,” Adams said.

The cemetery dates to the late 19th century and is operated by the Veterans Administration.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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