An editorial in the Jan. 30 Tomahawk Leader
This is written to the person or persons who stole the American flag from Veteran’s Memorial Park in Tomahawk last Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
Regardless of your reasons for cutting the cable and removing the 5x8-foot American flag that flew in honor of Lincoln County’s veterans, you are now in the position of dishonoring those who died, those who remain and those who will continue to fight for your freedoms. Regardless of whether or not you choose to return the flag, you should be made well aware of what it stands for.
You dishonor Tomahawk’s Engwald Bronsted, 19, killed Aug. 31, 1918, while serving his country during World War I; you dishonor Tomahawk’s Charles Searl, 23, killed Aug. 12, 1944, while defending your freedom over the skies of Europe during World War II; you dishonor Tomahawk’s Ralph Duellman, killed July 19, 1946, while bravely serving in the Korean War; you dishonor Merrill’s Grant Dampier, 25, killed in Iraq on May, 15, 2006, and you dishonor Merrill’s most recent loss, Ryan Jopek, 20, who was killed in Iraq on Aug. 2, 2006, while defending your rights.
Your actions dishonor Tomahawk’s Einar Ingman, Medal of Honor recipient, who on Aug. 2, 1951, assumed the command of two squads, whose commanders were injured, while attacking a strongly fortified ridge during the Korean War. Locating an enemy machine gun position that was suppressing his men he charged it alone, threw a grenade into the position, and killed the remaining crew with rifle fire. Another enemy machine gun opened fire only 15 yards away. When Ingman charged the second position, he was hit by grenade fragments and overcame a hail of fire that seriously injured him in the neck and face. Undaunted, he rose from the ground and, using only his rifle, killed the entire guncrew. There’s much more to his story. Sgt. Ingman can fill you in at Golden Living Center-Golden Age.
Other Lincoln County veterans would like to share their thoughts on what the flag represents.
“What was done is a dishonor, especially with our troops currently fighting overseas,” said Dave Hubatch, Bronsted-Searl American Legion Post 93 commander. “It’s frustrating. It’s a disgrace to all deceased and living veterans that have bravely served this country.”
Representing the Lincoln County Veteran’s Memorial Committee, Bill Burcalow stressed the concern is about principle and not the flag’s value.
“The fact is it violates our freedom to fly the flag. It’s more than just the veterans, it’s the 99.99 percent of people who support our veterans,” he said. “Return the flag, assist us in reattaching it, and write a letter of apology to all Lincoln County veterans and we won’t press charges.”
Thief, when it comes to honorable veterans, owning up to one’s actions and being held accountable are important attributes. Or if you so choose, you could drop the flag in the disposable-flag mailbox located next to the American Post Legion 93 building,
327 W. Wisconsin Ave. This route won’t win you much respect from the veterans, and they still may decide to pursue theft charges, but at least you’ll be able to represent one positive attribute. Honor.
Anyone with information that can help locate the guilty person or persons is encouraged to contact the Tomahawk Police Department at 715-453-2121.