Retired Marine Loren Vincent, whose American flag was burned down into an almost-unrecognizable heap last month, was seen on Tuesday afternoon putting up a new flag for the second time in front of his Turlock residence.
However, this time the change was not due to a malicious act done by unknown vandals.
Rather, Vincent was merely switching his flag out for one that previously flew over the United States Capitol building, a gift that was personally bestowed upon him by Congressman Jeff Denham.
“This was an important cause for me as a veteran,” said Denham. “This is about our veteran community coming together and supporting each other.”
Last month, someone removed Vincent’s American flag from its pole and burned it in his driveway. When officers from the Turlock Police Department arrived at the scene, there was unfortunately nothing that they could do but take down Vincent’s information.
Vincent received help from his neighbor and United States Air Force retiree Joe Nance to replace the destroyed remnants the next day, and together the two military men successfully raised and saluted a new American flag.
Although Vincent was able to quickly replace his burnt flag, he still received an influx of support from the community immediately following the incident.
“I’ve gotten phone calls and people coming by and offering flags,” said Vincent. “I think I have three flags now, so if one goes I have another one to replace it.”
Among those who reached out to Vincent are a number of local veterans, including American Legion Rex Ish Post 88 Commander Wardee Bruce, who presented Vincent with a POW/MIA flag.
“I just wanted to let him know that he was not alone,” said Bruce. “There are a lot of veterans out here in Turlock and we appreciate the flag being displayed.”
The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, which is an organization that includes direct descendents of the patriots who achieved the independence of the American people, was also in attendance on Tuesday to present Vincent with a Certificate of Commendation “in recognition of exemplary patriotism in the display of the flag of the United States of America.”
“We want to thank him for his service to our country and give him support,” said SAR Delta Chapter President John Humphrey. “Not many people fly the American flag anymore, so to have someone burn his down—especially since he is a veteran—is trespassing and vandalism.”
Additionally, Vincent will hopefully not have to worry about his new flag thanks to Antony Mendonca from Precision Security Systems, who donated and installed a high definition surveillance system in front of the retired Marine’s home.
“This is not really a huge sacrifice on my part,” said Mendonca, who installed the system on Thursday.
“It’s just a little token of my appreciation and it brings him a lot more peace, which is the biggest thing.”
Following Tuesday’s ceremony, Vincent said that he hopes that his story will encourage others like him to continue to proudly display their American flags no matter what.
“If they try and destroy it, put up another one the next day,” said Vincent. “Don’t let them stop you.”