American flags stolen from Stark County display ahead of Fourth of July

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CANTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW)– Canton Township wants whoever stole several flags from a patriotic display on the eve of Fourth of July weekend to return them.

The display was provided by Operation Flags of Freedom, which sets up flag displays throughout Ohio to support veterans and first responders.

“When you look at these flags, think about the men and women who paid the price, who served in the military, and a lot gave their lives for those flags,” said Operation Flags of Freedom President Steve Toohey.

The organization, local students and Canton Township workers lined a mile of Faircrest Street SW with more than 1,000 flags in advance of last Saturday’s Canton Township Community Day Celebration. The flags are set to remain in place until July 7.

(FOX 8 photo)

Township officials said six of the flags were stolen from in front of Faircrest Park sometime between Saturday and Tuesday.

Toohey quickly replaced them.

“It’s not the monetary value of these flags, but it’s the whole idea of stealing,” Toohey said. “To me, these are sacred. They might just be red, white and blue cloth, but it’s a symbol of our freedoms.

Canton Township Trustee Mark Shaffer called on whoever stole the flags to return them.

“If someone would be in need of a flag who took these, we’d be happy to reciprocate and provide them a flag if they return these,” Shaffer said.

Toohey said he hasn’t experienced a similar theft incident in the decade since he founded Operation Flags of Freedom.

“I only hope whoever took them treats them with all due respect, flies them proudly and takes care of them,” he said.

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