Sharla Bledsoe remembers her brother Andrew Barnes as “Captain America.”
Calling him a "very, very strong person,” Bledsoe told KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon, that her brother was patriotic to the core: “Everything that our forefathers essentially created the country to be, he was in love with."
After the Navy vet died in a motorcycle accident last July, Bledsoe told the station that Barnes' memory was kept alive by mementos and photos of him with his widow and two toddler sons, all of whom still live in Blesdoe's house.
But given Barnes' strong ties to American ideals, his sister said the American flag he raised just before his death outside her home has meant just as much.
And all that changed last weekend.
Bledsoe told KATU that vandals damaged Christmas decorations around her home Saturday night; when she surveyed the damage Sunday morning, she noticed the American flag that means so much to her was gone.
"I don't care about the Christmas decorations,” Bledsoe told the station. “I left them down, it doesn't bother me, but that flag means a lot to me and my family. We’re religious so we believe that we'll see him again, but as far as this life's concerned, all we have (are) the pieces that he left behind."
The Washington County Sheriff's Office is investigating, KATU reported.