- Un- Fracking - Real,
What The F_ _K!
Photos courtesy of San Juan County Sheriff's office
Vandals twice attacked Veterans' graves in Woodlawn Cemetery on Orcas Island this Memorial Day weekend, burning American flags and placing swastika-bearing flags in their place.
"It was an outrage," said said Bob Folk, a Vietnam Vet and former American Legion Post 93 commander. "Just the thought of doing it..."
"This crime is an outrage to every veteran, veteran's family, friends of their family, and the community as a whole," San Juan County Sheriff Bill Cumming said in a statement released Monday, May 28. "This is not an act of free speech, this is a crime."
"This vandalism is considered a hate crime under Washington law, and is being investigated as such," Cumming said.
The Orcas Island American Legion members and friends decorated the graves with more than 100 small American flags Saturday evening, said Folk, who helps organize a Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery. Sunday morning, Stan Englehartson, a Legionnaire and World War II Veteran, saw the damage as he drove to a pancake breakfast at the Legion Club in Eastsound.
Forty-six flags were stolen and 33 were burned with their remnants still attached to their small standards. Fourteen of the American flags were replaced with flags on sheets of paper bearing hand-made swastikas.
Legionnaires and their friends rounded up flags to replace the missing and charred flags. "We had a enough to put back up Sunday evening," Folk said.
A cemetery caretaker remained in the area and watched the cemetery until 4 a.m. Monday morning. A short time later it was discovered that the vandals struck again, cutting up flags and replacing 33 of them with the hand-drawn swastika flags.
Most of the available small flags on Orcas were marking graves at other cemeteries, stolen or destroyed but that didn't deter the Legionnaires from honoring their fellow vets. "We printed up 100 flags and made sticks for them and put them on the graves," Folk said.
"People went out there way to get things accomplished so it could be as best as we could do," Folk said. "We feel we have to pay our respects."
Anyone with information about the persons who planned and carried out this crime are asked to contact the sheriff's office at 360.378.4151.