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Huge U.S. flag stolen from veterans cemetery in Westwood

U.S. flag flying over the Los Angeles National Cemetery
A smaller U.S. flag flies Monday over the Los Angeles National Cemetery after the larger original banner was stolen over the Memorial Day weekend.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Authorities said a huge American flag and several smaller flags were stolen from the Los Angeles National Cemetery over the Memorial Day weekend.

Les’ Melnyk, a spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration, said the garrison flag at the veterans cemetery in Westwood was reported stolen sometime late Sunday or early Monday.

The cemetery’s gates were closed at the time, Melnyk said.

Veterans Affairs police are investigating the theft of the largest flag, which measures 25 feet by 30 feet, Melnyk said.

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After being reduced to burials and limited visitations during the coronavirus pandemic, national cemeteries will resume military honors services, officials say.

The crime “cannot detract in the slightest way from the honor and respect we pay on this Memorial Day to those servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” Melnyk said.

Rebekah Adams, a volunteer at the Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Foundation, said it would have been a difficult task to remove the flag, which is usually handled by three people.

“It’s so sad and shocking something like this would happen on Memorial Day,” Adams said.

The cemetery dates to the late 19th century and is operated by the Veterans Administration.


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