Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Headstones in the Civil War section at Fairview Cemetery, Whitehall, were vandalized. Catasauqua American Legion Post 215 has since replaced the flags that were taken.PRESS PHOTO BY DONNA GEWERTZ Headstones in the Civil War section at Fairview Cemetery, Whitehall, were vandalized. Catasauqua American Legion Post 215 has since replaced the flags that were taken.PRESS PHOTO BY DONNA GEWERTZ

Vandalism reported at local cemetery

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by Paul Cmil Special to The Press in Local News

Catasauqua American Legion Post 215 reported vandalism at Fairview Cemetery, Whitehall, before memorial services for fallen veterans.

“There are over 700 flags placed to honor fallen veterans in the cemetery,” said Dick Deibert, a member of the group’s Honor Guard. “Before the Memorial Day dedications, I get out there the Friday before to make sure everything is in place.”

According to Deibert, vandals ripped the flags from the sticks.

“The flags are held on with staples, so it is hard to rip them off. These were not young kids,” he said. “They weren’t using the flags to wave in a parade either. It’s easier to take the flag out of the holder. This is someone with evil intent against veterans and America.”

Most of the flags were from the section with Civil War veterans near the main monument. There were some from an adjacent section that had World War I and World War II veterans.

“We lost 62 flags,” Deibert reported. “We don’t get replacements from the VA. It is a shame that people have no respect for anything anymore.”

Legion members launched a search for the flags but could not find any. Members know the flags are somewhere, but they have no leads to follow. Anyone with an idea of who took the flags is urged to call the legion. According to Deibert, this has happened before.

“I know the flags were there on Friday, so the vandalism happened over the weekend,” he said.

The flags were replaced by legion donors.

The legion would like to join the national program of placing wreaths on veteran’s graves at Christmas.

“Each wreath would cost at least $10. That’s a $7,000 fundraising effort. And then we can’t even expect that someone is not going to steal the wreaths,” Deibert said.

The American Legion is looking for funding to support the wreath effort.

“It’s something we can do to honor these veterans,” he said.