PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- An Army veteran from Luzerne County who likes to say he bleeds, "red, white, and blue" is wondering how someone could rip out an American flag he displayed on his lawn.
A man who lives near Wilkes-Barre and served our country during the Kennedy administration was shocked Monday morning to find his American flag missing.
Gene Lazarus truly loves his country. He used to display his American flag on the side of his house but recently moved it over on his lawn where it could stand more prominently and people can see it when they drive by. When he did that, he never thought someone would steal it.
There's a lot of American pride on Kennedy Drive in Plains Township, near Wilkes-Barre. Just about every home there displays an American flag.
"It's not a piece of cloth. It's a piece of red, white, and blue bunting which represents freedom, freedom for the world, freedom for us," Lazarus said.
But this American veteran felt only helplessness Monday morning when he realized his flag and flag pole were no longer displayed on his lawn.
"And I looked, and I said, 'Wait a minute, something's wrong. Something's missing.'"
At first, Lazarus thought his flag blew away, but then he suspected it was stolen because his neighbors' flags are still there.
"And then I looked at the pipe. It was bent. The steel rod was bent and it kind of brought tears to my eyes."
He didn't tell police because he wants whoever took it to return it on their own.
"It sickens me to think someone would come along and steal that American flag. It really does," he said.
Fortunately, this American hero was not left to fight the flag thief by himself. His daughter posted about the missing flag on Facebook, and within a day, a company reached out offering to replace it for free. Gene is grateful, but he's still in disbelief, calling whoever stole from him a coward.
"I don't know what I could say to them. All I could say is, 'Why? Why did you have to desecrate my flag or anybody's flag?'"
Gene Lazarus also says if someone would have knocked on his door and asked him for money to buy them an American flag, he would gladly do so. He hopes whoever stole his flag returns it.