Vandals Prevent Museum From Flying Flag At Half-Staff

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Editor:

The Northern Gila County Historical Society would like to address an issue that has come to our attention. The question being, why are we not flying our flag at half-staff during these tragic times in American history?

To answer that question, a bit of history is needed. Three years ago, we had a flagpole and flags we were certainly proud to raise. We could fly them full-staff or half-staff.

Then vandalism began occurring, which put our flagpole in

such a bent and swaying condition that we could not raise our flags due to safety concerns. After repairing it twice, we designed a reinforced pole with lights attached so that we could fly our flags 24 hours a day, but this design prevents flying Old Glory at half-staff. However that didn't totally solve the problem: two months ago, vandals struck again and we found both flags in shreds.

Not willing to give into frustration, and with the assistance of Congressman J.D. Hayworth and state representative Jake Flake, we received new flags that Mr. Flake personally delivered. We were in the midst of planning another dedication ceremony when terrorists struck our country.

Our historical society has a history of community involvement, having worked with local veterans' organizations to make sure every single item left at thetraveling Vietnam Wall exhibiyt was accounted for and accessioned individually. We have also had three exhibits regarding our military history, including "The History of Aviation" with a special reception for local World War II heroes.

We certainly have no objection to questions of our current flag situation. An honest inquiry is always welcome and an honest answer deserved. But someone in Payson, who refused to state their name, verbally attacked one of our board members because the society doesn't have a flag flying at half-staff.

This is not a time to make negative assumptions, nor is it a time to attack our own that support this country and community. The historical society, through proper channels of information, will realize a solution to our current flag-flying dilemma. And, when she does fly long may she wave.

Sharesse Von Strauss

Director

Tom McGuigan

President

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