BRUNSWICK, GA. | A city police report describes the theft of 70 flags from the graves of Confederate veterans at Oak Grove Cemetery as theft of property.
Two officers of a Sons of Confederate Veterans camp say it was a desecration considering Congress long ago conferred the same status on the Confederate dead as other U.S. veterans.
The report of the missing flags was made August 18 by Hal Crowe, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Thomas Marsh Forman Camp #485.
The Confederate battle flag “is represented on the flags and may be the reason they were stolen and removed,’’ the police report says.
The flags taken were small, printed replicas of the third official flag of the Confederate State of America. A single vertical red bar takes up about a third of the flag and the rest is a white field with a battle emblem in the corner. At a cost of $2 each, the total loss was about $140, the report says.
But the cost is greater than that, said Crowe and James C. Carter, the adjutant of the Thomas Marsh Forman Camp.
Asked about a motive, Crowe said, “I’m not sure what to think. The officer said it was probably vandalism: Somebody just ran through here picking them up.”
Carter said he believes the flags were taken only because they had that little battle emblem.
“You wouldn’t go through any other cemetery removing American flags from graves. These are men who answered the call of their state,’’ he said, “just like Union soldiers answered the calls of their states.