Flags at SC cemetery burned before July 4, GOP Rep. leads effort to replace them

More than 20 flags were taken from graves at a South Carolina cemetery and burned just before Independence Day.

“I’m excited to announce that Forest Lawn Memorial Park has accepted my offer to replace the 21 American flags that were burned by vandals with 22 flags so that our whole community knows that the values our flag stands for can never be destroyed and that no amount of intimidation will cause us to shy away from showing our pride for this country,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said Wednesday.

Vandals collected 21 flags, piled them on cemetery grounds and lit them fire around 10:30 p.m. July 3, according to Forest Lawn Memorial Park manager Joe Owens. Ownes said the flags were placed “in our cemetery to celebrate the 245th birthday of Our Nation’s Independence.” Only scorched remains were left in the pile.

The cemetery’s bell tower was also vandalized with a graffiti message saying, “Seperating [sic] church and state.”

Rep. Duncan commented on the vandalism on his Facebook, saying, “Wonder if this was the same person who stole the American flag at Mama Penns? To the disturbed person who did this: if Old Glory is so triggering to you, why not leave the country? If you contact my office, and I will personally assist you with the paperwork needed for you to leave this country and denounce your citizenship.”

The suspect or suspects were not caught on the cemetery’s security cameras, and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. “Investigators have reached out to the local Crime Stoppers organization asking for reward assistance and any information about the incident,” Public Information Officer Stephen Combs said.

In May, Rep. Duncan also stepped up to help a local small business replace American and state flags stolen from their property. “Someone Stole both of our flags,” Sunny Davis, the owner of Mamma Penn’s restaurant said in a Facebook post.

“We were shocked. Immediately just could not even believe it. That’s just not something you would ever think someone would steal,” Davis added.

“Earlier in the week, my office read on Facebook about the American flag at Mama Penn’s being stolen, and so we reached out and told them we wanted to help them replace that,” Duncan said.