By Guy Page
A spokesperson for the United State Post Office has confirmed Aug. 20 social media reports that the American flag at the Main Street, Brattleboro post office and federal courthouse was stolen, vandalized, torn, and then hung from a local bridge.
A former Vernont resident posted on his Facebook page Aug. 20 a photo of a large, torn American flag. Underneath he wrote, “The Brattleboro Post Office American Flag, today! Cut down from its flag pole! Torn and ripped! Tied around the Hinsdale bridge!”
Stephen Doherty, strategic communications specialist for the United States Post Office, confirmed these details when Headliners contacted him at his office in Boston. “Someone cut the rope with the American flag on it and took it down. They found it draped over the bridge to Hinsdale,” he said. The bridge is located about a half-mile from the Main Street post office.
The incident occurred “a couple of days ago,” he said yesterday. He said it is unknown whether the flag was torn on purpose, or whether it was damaged as a result of being hung from the bridge.
Doherty said that in his more than two decades of working for the USPS, this is the first time he has ever encountered a flag theft from a post office. Days earlier, someone had stolen the POW/MIA flag from the same flag pole, Doherty said. The incident is under investigation by the Brattleboro Police Department and postal inspectors, he said.
Headliners has left a message with the BPD and will report any developments on the case. There are no known suspects. While the Brattleboro federal building (like many federal buildings) is a frequent site for sidewalk protests against federal policies, there is no known connection between these protesters and the vandalism.
The photo of the torn flag stirred many comments on Facebook. Mike Hebert, a former legislator from Vernon and a U.S. Marine (retired) and Vietnam veteran, commented: “Folks need to start defending our flag!” Anya Tynio of Charleston, 2018 GOP nominee for Congress, noted: “While on the surface this is a disrespectful prank it signals a deeper hatred of our country. Absolutely treasonous.”
Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.