9/11 memorial flag stolen from church

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

A women's walking group with the Fourth Plain Nazarene Church discovered that a flag the congregation dedicated on Sept. 11, 2011, was missing Tuesday. The group told the Rev. Bruce Kennard, pastor of administration at the church, who was on another part of the property working on a remodeling project.

The church held a large ceremony with city officials to dedicate the 8-by-12-foot flag to the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The dedication drew nearly 600 people. It included a 21-gun salute and patriotic songs. They displayed the flag on a 100-foot pole in the parking lot west of the church.

The church replaced the original flag just six months earlier, because the original was worn.

Without any suspect info or unique marks on the flag, which is worth $250 to $300, it didn't look like the flag would be found. Kennard explained to the Wednesday night service that the flag was stolen. Church member Gary McKenzie, 66, was particularly upset.

"If I was there and they were stealing the flag, it wouldn't have happened," said McKenzie, a 34-year veteran of the United States Army who served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. "A lot of people gave their lives for that flag. More than I can count. We're going to pray for the people who took it."

An anonymous donor is supplying the church with a new flag, and it is expected to arrive in a couple of days, Kennard said, in time for 9/11.

"We don't have any idea who it was, but we hope whenever they look at that flag, they realize they took down an important memorial," he said.