Some very unpatriotic vandals have cut down two American flags in front of a County Road 39 business in recent weeks.
Paul Roden, owner of the AT&T Wireless store in the Village East shopping plaza at the intersection of County Road 39 and Hampton Road on the edge of Southampton Village, reported this week that the two aluminum flagpoles he erected on a common green area in front of the shopping plaza, both flying American flags, were cut down for a second time this past weekend. The poles and the flags were not stolen—both times they were left lying on the ground next to where they had stood.
“To cut down the U.S. flag and leave them lying on the ground, these are obviously people who have no conscience,” said Mr. Roden, who lives in Patchogue. “I was brought up in a very patriotic family—I’m devastated. To me, this is like being stabbed in the heart.”
In both instances, the poles, which are made of hollow aluminum, were cut down near their base using a hacksaw. Mr. Roden said the cut marks from the saw blade were evident on the felled poles. Both times the poles were cut down at night—once on a Friday night and once on a Saturday night.
Mr. Roden said he does not believe the vandals were targeting him, any of his employees or his store in particular, since the flags are out on the green in front of the plaza and there is no way to know who was responsible for them.
He said he has spent more than $600 to have the poles erected and re-erected.
The vandals are clearly making a statement about the United States, the store owner surmised, or simply out looking for something to cut down.
Regardless of the motives for the desecration, Mr. Roden wondered how the vandals could have perpetrated their anti-American assault near such a busy intersection. “Where are the police on this?” he asked. “It’s a scenario I just can’t imagine.”
Southampton Village Police Sergeant Herman Lamison said he was not familiar with the two incidents.
In the meantime, Mr. Roden said he is having two new poles fabricated and hopes to have the Stars and Stripes flying along the roadway by the end of the month. The new flags will also have a new video surveillance camera focused on them so if the vandals strike again their attack will be witnessed and, with luck, lead to an arrest.
“I’m patriotic. My parents were patriotic,” Mr. Roden said. “My mother asked to have a flag in her coffin with her. My father ran on the Bull Moose ticket with Theodore Roosevelt. This kind of insult I will not tolerate.”