Missing flags blamed on squirrels

June 6, 2007 at 4:39 PM
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NEENAH, Wis., June 6 (UPI) -- Caretakers at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Neenah, Wis., say a recent rash of flag thefts may have been the work of animals looking to line nests with the material.

Jim Romnek, commander of the Neenah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10893, and Nancy Taylor-Sowatzke, a benefit specialist for the Winnebago County Veterans Service Office, said they originally thought the flags were being stolen from the graves by humans, the Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent reported Wednesday.

However, they noticed the wooden dowels that held the flags on the graves of military veterans were being left behind, and there were no flags strewn about to imply strong winds were to blame, the newspaper said.

Taylor-Sowatzke then theorized the flags might have been taken by squirrels, which was the case a few years ago at a nearby cemetery.

Oak Hill foreman Mark Alberts agreed with the theory. He said remnants of flags are often found in hollows used by squirrels when the cemetery cuts down old trees.

"We find a lot of flags all shredded up in there," he told the Post-Crescent. "They use them for bedding."

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