Laclede County Courthouse gets new American flag after vandalism last year
The Laclede County Courthouse in Lebanon had a new flag displayed outside for the holiday weekend. The flag was special to community members after a vandalism took place around this time last year.
County Commissioner Darrell Pollock said he was shocked when he heard someone tried to burn the flag last year.
"In Lebanon, Laclede County, I call us we're kinda apple pie right here as you're gonna get," Pollock said. "This is Americana, and when it happened here, it really was just kind of a sickening feeling."
Community members immediately called offering donations. Those donations ranged from $5 to $2,500. By October, they had raised enough money to buy not only one, but two flags and donate more than $4,000 to a veterans memorial in Lebanon that had also been vandalized.
Pollock said community members all want to make sure no one tries to burn this flag too.
"Lighting, security cameras have been repositioned," he said. "But still, we had that last time, and there's that element there that you can't be prepared for."
That's why a group of volunteers, nicknamed the "flag and freedom fighters" stay up every night to guard the flag. They say it's a small price to pay for the meaning behind the stars and stripes.
"The flag is this country," one member said.
"This flag just represents to me: my country and my home and my people. It's just wonderful and it hurts to see people tearing it down," another said.
The group of volunteers said, now more than ever, people need to remember what it means to be an American.
"We should have equal justice for everyone, regardless of your race, religion, your financial status in the country. And somehow, we slipped away from that. The division in our country is tearing us apart and coming back together, it's going to happen."
The flag was put up last week for the holiday and will be taken down on Monday.