Residents, veterans infuriated in theft of American flags, poles

KEVIN RAUCH/THE EXPRESS This American flag and pole at the end of the Gold Star Mother’s Bridge in Hyner were stolen over the weekend.

HYNER — Who would do such a thing?


And how?

Those questions remain as veterans and residents of the Renovo area are saddened and outraged by the theft of the American flag and pole that flew on the eastern end of the Gold Star Mother’s Bridge across the West Branch of the Susquehanna River at Hyner.

The dastardly deed took place this past weekend, perhaps under cover of darkness in the middle of the night.

Even more aggrieved is the fact that this was the second time in two years that vandals desecrated the American Flag on that bridge, which carries Route 120 across the river.

American Legion Officer George Crouse talked about the incidents with The Express.

“The first time was two years ago. The pole was destroyed and the flag stolen from its proud perch. This time, both the pole and flag are gone,” he said

Those who replaced the flag last summer are stymied … and upset.

The pole was installed with braces and re-enforced brackets that attached the pole to the bridge, thinking it could not be removed without a lot of effort effort, Crouse explained.

“We believe a significant amount of time and force was used to remove the pole and flag this time,” he said.

Residents of Western Clinton County – an area like many that swells with patriotism – are infuriated.

And the theft is especially upsetting to the veterans who take pride in making sure that American Flags fly on both ends of the bridge at Hyner and nearby Renovo and South Renovo.

The American Flag is a symbol of America’s devotion to and vigorous support of our country and it flies proudly to thank our veterans for protecting and serving this country.

The Renovo American Legion installs and maintains the American flags that are displayed in western Clinton County.

Crouse credits veterans John Curcio and Tom Bissman in taking special interest in the American flags on the Gold Star Mother’s Bridge.

“Those flags are John’s baby,” it’s been said, referring to Curcio, a World War II combat veteran who served with the Army Air Force and its 458th Bombardment Group from 1943 to 1945.

Curcio regularly checks the condition of the American Flags in Hyner and makes sure they are replaced when torn or weather beaten, officials said. Bissman is a Post 442 officer. He, along with other Post officials who also are with the The Western Clinton County Veterans Council, take pride in the flag and yearly retired old flags.

Gold Star Mothers is an organization whose roots date back to World War I and is a name given to mothers who are entitled to display a gold star on a service flag as the mother, stepmother, adoptive mother or foster mother of a United States Armed Forces member who died while engaged in action against an enemy and recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

The bridge at Hyner is dedicated to these mothers.

As with last year, a new pole and flag will be purchased from the Memorial Fund of the American Legion at a cost of about $350 and erected on the bridge.

The Memorial Fund is supplemented solely by donations that the Renovo Honor Guard and Bucktail Marine Corps League receive from families of veterans in appreciation for the funeral services and flag presentations that the Color Guard and Marine Corps League hold.

About 12 to 15 veterans volunteer at veterans’ funeral services and the Marine Corps League presents a flag to the family of the veteran. If a family donates in the deceased veteran’s name, that money goes to the Memorial Fund.

The Memorial Fund’s main goal is to maintain area memorials and to buy flowers for veterans’ funeral services… and in cases like this.


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