Vandals may have taken more flags from Whitfield County Courthouse and King Street than thought

Nine flags are still missing from the Avenue of Flags along King Street and the Whitfield County Courthouse lawn, according to one of the organizers of the flag display.

The display was vandalized some time Friday night or early Saturday morning.

The flags are placed on the courthouse lawn and on King Street on patriotic occasions by a community effort called United We Stand, which has been putting the flags out since 1991. Dalton American Legion Post 112 is the administrative organization for the effort.

George Lo Greco, an American Legion member, is the chairman for the program. Lo Greco said he had determined the flags of the following veterans are missing: 

• Harlan D. Broadrick

• Clifford A. Fox

• W. Goforth

• Robert McDowall Johnston

• Larron D. Murphy

• Robert Shupe

• Jack Dhennon Smith

• Ralph Stafford

• Flint H. Williams Sr.

The flags had been placed in observance of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, which was Saturday, and for National POW/MIA (Prisoners of War/Missing in Action) Recognition Day, which is this Friday.

Goforth was killed in action. Broadrick, Fox and Murphy were prisoners of war.

Each flagpole has a small placard honoring a Whitfield County veteran, many of whom are missing in action or prisoners of war, paid for by their families.

Lo Greco said Monday it appeared five flagpoles and six flags were missing but he couldn't be certain until he'd completed a full inventory. That started Tuesday night with the help of 16 volunteers.

"I want to thank all of the patriots who turned out to help," he said. "We had a very good turnout. I gave everyone a list of the names and told them that if they saw that name to cross it off. We were able to do that in 45 minutes."

Lo Greco said several people have stepped forward to donate or pledge money to replace missing flags as well as to set up a reward fund for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who vandalized the display.

"I appreciate all of those people (who have donated or pledged) as well," he said. "We (the American Legion) do plan to offer a reward for help catching whoever did this."

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