Police looking for suspects in burning of American flag


On Sunday, Sept. 29, Pat Carey walked out of his home in the Summerfield community near Ocean View to go to his car, and saw that the American flag that had been flying from their garage had been burned during the night.

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Pat and Margaret Carey stand by their new American flag, purchased to replace the one left charred in their yard after someone had burned it a few weeks ago. Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Pat and Margaret Carey stand by their new American flag, purchased to replace the one left charred in their yard after someone had burned it a few weeks ago. “We didn’t hear or see anything until my husband went out and saw that it was gone,” said his wife, Margaret Carey, “nor did anyone in the neighborhood. We’re just completely shocked by the whole thing. We cannot believe someone would burn the American flag.”

Carey said that they believe the flag was burned between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. on Sept. 29.

“The funny part about it is, on the other side of my house is a Redskins flag hanging out there. They didn’t burn that, which they shouldn’t have done that anyway — but to burn my country’s flag?”

Carey said that they are fortunate that the fire did not spread to the home’s garage.

“Luckily, the fire burnt from the back, going out over the driveway, and not from there back to the garage, because some of the burnt from the flag landed on my husband’s white car… just spots of it,” Margaret Carey said. “There was some also on the grass. Luckily, it didn’t go back the other way to the garage.”

The Careys did contact the Delaware State Police and filed a report about the incident. Cpl. Gary Fournier, public information officer for the DSP, said that a report had been filed but that police did not currently have any suspects.

“It appears to be an isolated incident where someone went to this house and burned their flag,” he said.

“The officer that was here was most cooperative,” said Margaret Carey. “But he said we probably won’t find out anything unless one of them should happen to brag about what they did to the wrong person.”

Carey said that, about a year ago, the family had another incident in which their flag was vandalized, which was not reported to the police at the time.

“This is the second time this has happened to us. The first time they pulled it down, ripped it off and took it,” she said.

Although Carey doubts those involved will be apprehended, she and her husband immediately raised a new flag on their home’s flagpole.

“We’re not very hopeful — we’re really not. But we do have right now another American flag flying at our house. We put one up right away,” she said. “We’re very, very upset. Everyone has been very cooperative in our neighborhood to try to apprehend and find out who did this.”

Carey said that her husband had served in the Army and was stationed in Germany.

“How could you not respect the flag? If you don’t respect anything else, you should respect the flag. It’s just devastating to everybody.”

Carey said that, following the incident, other residents of Summerfield took down their flags, and she hopes they will be restored.

“If you drive through our neighborhood, we’re about the only ones who have their American flag out. Everyone else has taken theirs down. The lady directly across the street from us took hers down immediately, that day. Ours is back up there, and it is going to stay up there. No one is going to push me out of saying that I am an American citizen and flying my flag.

“I do hope people in our neighborhoods will continue to put their flags back up,” she continued. “Don’t let whoever did this keep us from saying, ‘We are Americans, this is our country, and don’t you dare do anything to our country.’”

Anyone who may have any information regarding the incident is being asked to contact Delaware State Police Troop 4 at (302) 856-5850.