MALVERN, Ark. — This weekend, people across the country are remembering our fallen veterans, But in one small Arkansas town, their memorial was disgraced by thieves.
The flags around the Hot Spring County Courthouse in Malvern are more than a patriotic symbol put out for Memorial Day. Many of the flags have the names of local veterans attached to them which is why it was especially frustrating for the people living there to learn two flags were stolen this week.
“It’s really just sickening. I mean it’s just a material thing, but it has so much meaning behind it,” said Misty Derrick who lives in Malvern.
When word got out that two flags of the 50 flags were stolen, several people volunteered to replace them. Thankfully, Derrick found one of the missing flags. Someone had planted it in her front yard the night before.
“We walked outside, and there was a whole flag rolled right there up still on the pole and everything,” Derrick remembered.
She contacted police who picked up the flag and returned it to the organizer. As someone who has family who served in the military herself, it’s something very close to Derrick’s heart.
She stated, “Even if I didn’t it would still be personal. These men and women, they lost their lives so me and my kids could go enjoy memorial day weekend.”
The other stolen flag is still missing in action. The organizer replaced it out of her own pocket with one of her own but said if flags continue to come up missing, she may have to stop the program.
Derrick said that would be a “shame”.
“This right here is the least they deserve for the sacrifices they made for us,” Derrick stated. “It’s a shame something like this could be taken away because of a thief.”
After the flags were returned or replaced, we were told no more were stolen from Thursday up to Sunday when this report aired. No one has been arrested according to the memorial organizer Tammy Arnold.
We called the Malvern Police Department about the theft to see if they were able to catch the thief but could not get any answers due to it being a holiday weekend.