American Legion Post 99 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was faced with a decision no veterans organization should have to make: whether or not to fly its American flag continuously.
Three times within a month, Post Commander Edward Cheatham has shown up to the legion's building to find its American, state of New Mexico and prisoner of war flags stolen. The thefts have not only cost the organization money to replace but caused its members anger and heartbreak over the lack of respect to the flags and the veterans the legion represents.
Post Commander Edward Cheatham expressed a hesitation at leaving the post's newly purchased set of flags up over night after the third theft, but told TheBlaze for two nights now he's flown them without incident.
The latest theft occurred last Monday.
"The first thing I said was 'No, not again.' That's the third time it happened, so of course, I am very upset about it,"Cheatham told KOAT-TV, calling the thefts a "terrible blow" last week.
"If you want to make a point that’s fine, but I mean, if you’re expressing your freedom, you’re expressing it to the wrong people, because these are the people who fought for your freedoms," Post 99 Officer David Carabajl told KRQE-TV. "I do get angry, I am angry, but I’m more like, it’s a sad thing to steal an American flag from a legion, a veterans post, out of all a veterans post."
Cheatham told TheBlaze he didn't report the thefts to the police because he thinks they "have better things to do than chase flags." He did say, however, that he will be installing surveillance cameras outside the building.
"We just want it to stop because it infuriates our members," he said.
Watch KOAT's report: