By Leigh Martinez


TURLOCK (CBS13) — A veteran proudly displaying his American flag in front of his Turlock home found someone set the flag ablaze and left the burned pieces on the ground for him to find.

For 15 years, the flagpole on Loren Vincent’s front yard always had an American flag on it. But on Monday morning, he says it was gone.

“I looked out Monday morning, got my newspaper and saw the flag wasn’t here. I thought maybe it blew away,” he said.

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It didn’t. Instead, its remains were left on the ground as the plastic flag was burned and melted into the driveway.

“How can they do that? We served. We fought for that flag and men are dying for that flag,” he said.

Vincent says he’s curious as to why his flag was targeted when he lives inside this court, and just outside, his neighbor has two flags flying and they were untouched.

The flagpole is no ordinary lawn ornament. It’s a tribute made by Vincent and his neighbor, Air Force veteran Joe Nance.

“It represents three different families,” Nance said. “The eagle on top represents Loren’s brother-in-law, who was in the Navy in World War II. USMC represents the Marine Corps, which is Loren. And then on the back of the flag pole it says ‘Dad 313965’ that represents my dad’s serial number in World War II.”

Vincent filed a police report.

“They have the right to buy a flag and burn it,” he said. “They don’t have the right to come onto my property and take it down and burn it.”

Nance immediately bought Vincent a new one, and the flag flies again at his home.

“It’s not just a veteran, because we’re no better than anybody else, any red-blooded American would feel the same way: we would fight for that flag and die for it,” Nance said.

Turlock Police say they have no other reports of flag vandalism and there’s no indication someone was trying to send a message to Vincent.