Flag damage shows lack of respect



The Boardman resident plans to hang a new flag.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Township resident Howard Wolfe says he thinks there is a lack of respect for self and country running through younger people in the area -- and he has the damaged goods to prove it.
Wolfe, who is in his 80s, has lived in a neat, ranch-style home on Salinas Trail since 1992. Through most of those 12 years, he has flown an American flag from a flagpole in the front yard of the home.
Marcus Masello, Wolfe's 8-year-old neighbor, noticed Tuesday morning while riding his bike that the flag had been vandalized. When Wolfe came out to investigate, he found four-letter expletives and the letters "KKK" spray-painted in red on the flag, which had been hung upside down.
There were also four-letter words spray-painted on a stop sign and road sign near Wolfe's home. The "KKK" was also spray-painted on a utility pole near the house. Police are investigating.
Wolfe said a flag has hung from the nearly 20-foot pole in his yard without incident for years. He said the now-damaged flag had been purchased just two weeks ago to replace another flag that had become worn. Several other flags hang above doors and in yards on the street, but none were damaged.
Neighbors say the neighborhood is usually quiet with little or no problems. No one thinks the action was a direct attack on Wolfe, but possibly the work of teens who had been hanging around the neighborhood in recent days.
Owner's reaction
Wolfe, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, is disgusted by the action. He said such destruction shows low morals.
"I would have rather seen them paint the house than the flag, but this younger generation has no respect for anything. This younger generation has no respect for anyone but themselves," he said. "If these people don't like this country, they should get the h--- out."
Wolfe said the flag incident is a good example of why all young people should be required to serve in the military. Such requirements, he said, would teach respect for country and give a clear understanding of what the flag stands for.
As for flying the flag above his front yard, Wolfe, who has Parkinson's disease, said he will not be deterred. He plans to hang a new flag from the pole as soon as he can.
jgoodwin@vindy.com

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