Squirrels Steal Flags of our Fathers
June 2 | 1 Comment
Grave robbers, patriots, or maybe interior decorators with a nationalistic flair?
I know what I call them: bushy tailed, rat thug, vandals.
That may sound harsh, but let me explain. My great, great, great, great uncle of mine, who was a Doberman by the way, landed on the beaches of Normandy. His responsibility on D-Day was to chase the German Shepherds from the hilltops on the often overlooked beach called Kennel Cough. Every dog historian I’ve read agrees it was the most dangerous of all the landing zones.
Although outnumbered, and out-positioned, the courage of my distant relative shone through. He jumped from his Higgins boat a dangerous 400 yards from shore. Weighted down with Purina One he barely managed to doggie paddle his way onto the beach. Once there, he had to navigate a booby trapped beach covered in poos.
No, not a bunch of Winnies laying in the sun, but rather the kind of poos that come out of the business end of a kat. Highly trained as he was, my uncle swallowed the turds as if they were delicate treats until he was within barking distance of his enemies. He climbed the cliffs and stormed the closest turret tower.
Vicious barking could be heard from inside until my uncle emerged back through the doorway. There, in his mouth, was Colonel Sauer Kraut, a german squirrel with ill intentions, begging to be let go.
My uncle, a creature who loved mother nature’s bounty, let Sauer Kraut free out of the kindness of his heart. It seemed the right thing to do then. However, the kindness of that act has come back to haunt us, as I suspect, Kraut’s relatives are responsible for descrating the honorable grave sites of our fallen heroes.
The Port Huron Times Herald has the full details.
If he didn’t see it happen, Ron Ceglarek said he probably wouldn’t believe it.
A squirrel — weighing about 3 pounds — got up on its hind legs, tore a small American flag from a small staff next to a grave stone, rolled it up and carried it up a tree to a waiting mate building a nest.
It happened not just once, but about dozen times.
“He plucks them right off,” Ceglarek, superintendent of Mount Hope Cemetery in Port Huron, said of a rogue squirrel that is stealing flags. “If I didn’t see it, and I didn’t follow the squirrel, I never would have believed it.
“But it is a band of tree rodents.”
Every Memorial Day, volunteers put small American flags next to grave stones of the about 965 veterans buried at the Krafft Road cemetery.
All the flags were undisturbed during a Mass on Memorial Day. But the next day, cemetery workers noticed the flags were disappearing — the small, wooden staffs still were in the ground, but Old Glory itself had been removed.
At first, the cemetery’s staff was confused. Then, Ceglarek spotted the thief in action.
“It looked like he had a little bandana in his mouth,” he said of the squirrel.
Ceglarek has collected a handful of bare staffs. The staples used to attach the flags remain firmly in place with pieces of red, white and blue fabric stuck to them.
The squirrels’ nest is in Ward L of the cemetery –a ward now conspicuously without flags.
“Clean as a whistle,” Ceglarek said.
The nest, which is about 45 feet up a spruce tree, can be seen by an observant cemetery visitor as red, white and blue cloth drapes over branches.
“Maybe they are trying to tell us it is going to be a hard winter,” Ceglarek said with a laugh. “Why use leaves when you can get flags?”
“This crew here,” he said referring to the squirrels, “is going to hamper that, no doubt.”
If only my uncle were still around. At least I have his memory. Long live our fighting heroes.