California Freeway Tribute to 13 Fallen Servicemembers Vandalized

A Californian tribute honoring the 13 fallen servicemembers who lost their lives in Kabul, Afghanistan, has been vandalized after someone shredded 13 American flags and one Marine Corps flag.

The memorial, which was made up of 13 American flags and one Marine Corps flag, had been placed on a bridge on Ivy Street in Riverside, California, that overlooked the 91 Freeway, according to a Facebook post by the Riverside Police Department. On Monday, a vandal destroyed the display:

Recently after the deaths of our 13 United States Service Members killed in Afghanistan, 13 American Flags and 1 Marine Corp flag were placed on the fence to the Ivy Street overpass to the 91 Freeway in Riverside as a memorial. Sometime yesterday, an observant citizen noticed the flags appeared to be damaged and it was reported to the police.

VANDALIZED FLAGS Recently after the deaths of our 13 United States Service Members killed in Afghanistan, 13 American…

Posted by Riverside Police Department on Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Breitbart News spoke with Public Information Officer Ryan Railsback of the Riverside Police Department. Officer Railsback informed Breitbart, “right now we don’t have any leads as to who the suspect who committed this vandalism is. We are getting some phone calls in, but we just don’t have any information right now.”

According to the Facebook post, under the watch and effort of two patriotic citizens, “the flags were carefully removed” and placed in the care of Boy Scout Troop 703. The members of the troop will be properly retiring the 14 flags, Railsback said:

They volunteered to properly deal with them. A lot of people don’t realize there is a proper way to handle flags when they’re done. We have here, I think our main downtown fire station — they’ve got an old mailbox that they’ve painted red and you can put your old, kind of tattered, worn flag in there and they will properly retire it, so it’s kind of nice that we did have this boy scout troop offer to do that for everybody.

Officer Railsback stated that the community has been brought closer together by the act of vandalism as a new tribute to the servicemembers with even more flags has been created:

This has brought out, I think the best in people — the best in some of our Riversiders, where they’re not only replacing those thirteen flags, but putting more up. It’s the Military Affairs Council as part of our greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. They put up 13 flags at our 14th street overpass to the 91 freeway. The 14th street is kind of the entry to the downtown area, so we have flags up there as well. It has, I think, brought people together, which is a good thing.

Posted by Riverside Police Department on Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Railsback informed Breitbart that the vandal could potentially face a felony charge for the act. “In the state of California, vandalism that causes damages of $400 dollars or more is a felony,” the officer began. “From talking to some of the folks who put up new flags, those costs were probably right over $400, so the person could be looking at a felony.”

Railsback would go onto say that he does not “know what kind of criminal consequences they would receive,” as the act was not a violent crime. The officer explained that a potential future arrest of a subject could pose as a teaching experience revolving around the symbolism and meaning behind the American flag. “We want to maybe make this a learning lesson and make them aware of the meaning behind tributes like this,” Railsback explained.

Anyone with information regarding the vandalism is encouraged to contact the Riverside Police Property Crimes Unit at (951) 353-7955.

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