American flag burned by vandals at Veterans Memorial Plaza in Lakewood, mayor says

An investigation is underway after the U.S., California, and POW-MIA flags at the Veterans Memorial Plaza were burned by vandals, according to Lakewood Mayor Todd Rogers.

In a statement, Rogers said the incident happened "sometime over the past 48 hours," adding that the memorial itself was also damaged as burn marks were made on a flag pole and concrete walkway.

"The flags appear to have then been burned on top of a nearby yellow sawhorse barrier that asks people to treat the memorial with respect," he said.

The memorial plaza was built in 1964 and renovated in 2015. It includes a Korean War-era Douglas jet fighter mounted on top of a representation of an aircraft carrier. The American, California, and POW-MIA flags are lit up each night and fly 24 hours a day. 

"I know I speak on behalf of my City Council colleagues and all Lakewood residents in decrying this shameful act of vandalism that shows great disrespect to the men and women who have served our nation, including those honored at the memorial who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms that these cowardly vandals abused," Rogers said.

The damaged flag pole and walkway are undergoing repairs, and officials said they hope to fly the American, California, and POW-MIA flags again "within a few days."

The incident is under investigation by the city and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities are asking residents and nearby businesses who may have security cameras to come forward with any footage that shows suspicious activity between the evening of July 4 and the afternoon of July 6, when the vandalism was discovered.

This also includes suspicious activity during that same time frame near Del Valle Park, located at Henrilee St. and Woodruff Ave.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at (562) 623-3500.