3,000 American flags that each represented a victim of 9/11 were planted at a city park in Canton, Georgia, but found their way to trash cans and the floor of the Cherokee County Courthouse. CBS Atlanta reports that the organizers who planted the memorial are outraged after learning the order to disrespectfully remove the flags came from the Cherokee County Solicitor General David Cannon Jr.:
Lori Pesta, president of "Salute to Our Veterans," the group that planted the memorial, found the flags on the county courthouse floor and stuffed in trashcans. Pesta told WSBTV that she filed a police report Thursday after seeing the flags were missing from the park, and assumed that someone had stole them. Pesta and Vietnam War veteran John Marinko told WSBTV that they were appalled when they discovered the flags, which cost the group $2,500, lying on the floor.
“Each one of these flags represents a soul that was lost on 9/11. They deserve respect," said Marinko.
The Cherokee Tribune reports that Pesta is considering a lawsuit against the solicitor general for "moral turpitude." Canon insists that he was not trying to offend anyone.
“I was just trying to help out. We could have done a better job stacking them. My goal was to get them out of the weather,” Cannon told WSBTV. “I’m sorry.”
Cannon told CBS Atlanta that he had a group of juveniles remove the flags as a part of community service, and he was only attempting to help with clean up efforts. Pesta said to the Cherokee Tribune that the solicitor not only disrespected the display, but sent a bad message to the young individuals whom he instructed to remove the flags.
Salute to Our Veterans had planned a flag retirement ceremony for Friday, but canceled the event since the flags were removed. The flags will be stored for use in future veterans’ events.