WILMINGTON — The man and woman who removed the flags from veterans’ graves and placed them in the Sugar Grove Cemetery dumpster in late April have come forward, Mayor John Stanforth announced during the annual Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery Monday morning.
Stanforth stated that the couple, of whom citizens had described as being two people who frequent the cemetery, believed they were doing the right thing at the time, and that they have rarely left their home since the incident.
Stanforth did not publicly identify them by name, but he asked that residents show compassion and to refrain from ostracizing the perpetrators.
The City of Wilmington and Wilmington police had investigated the incident, and soon concluded that no city employees had mistakenly removed or directed removal of the flags.
Police issued a statement on May 20 that included a description of the couple’s vehicle and of the couple, whom witnesses said removed the flags on April 26 between about 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Volunteers came out in large numbers Sunday morning to place new flags on veterans’ graves. The city and veterans had asked for more volunteers for the annual placing of flags due to the difficulty in identifying the graves of all veterans.
The flags will be honorably retired in separate ceremonies conducted by local veterans’ organizations.
The VFW will hold their ceremony on Flag Day, June 14 at 7 p.m., and the American Legion will conduct theirs on June 11 at 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome at both ceremonies.