Northwest NEWS

December 17, 2001

Editorial

Memorial flag stolen from Woodinville home

by Deborah Stone
   Features Writer
   The flag is a symbol of America, representing liberty for all. It reminds people of the freedoms they enjoy courtesy of the sacrifices made by many before them.
   After the tragic events on Sept. 11, the flag seems to hold a deeper significance to the citizens of this country. They have responded by flying flags from their homes, their cars and their businesses showing their unity and pride in America.
   Woodinville resident John Lockwood, a retired rear admiral of the Coast Guard and Vietnam War veteran, used to display his flag only on holidays, but after Sept. 11, he decided to make it a permanent fixture in front of his home.
   He said, "The flag I have is very special as it was given to me seven years ago by the Veterans Administration upon my father's death. My father, William W. Lockwood, was a WWI vet who served with General Pershing in France in 1917.
   "I felt that after Sept. 11 it was appropriate to display it 24 hours a day. I think my father would have wanted it to be that way."
   Lockwood's flag is 4 by 8 feet and he displayed it 15 feet above the ground between two fir trees in his Reintree home's yard. It was backlighted by a spotlight to illuminate it at night.
   "It looked good up there," commented Lockwood, "and I felt that I had done the right thing."
   He had many positive comments from his neighbors about the flag, as it was hard to miss when people drove by his house. On Dec. 1, Lockwood and his wife went downtown for the evening. There had been a power outage due to high winds right before they left, so the spotlight for the flag wasn't on when they left the house. When the couple returned, they didn't notice anything amiss, but in the morning, Lockwood immediately saw that the flag was missing.
   He said, "A few of my neighbors commented to me that they had driven by in the evening after the power was back up and had noticed that the flag was gone.
   "This was around 8 or 9 at night, but when I returned around 10 or so, I went right into the garage and didn't see anything. It wasn't until the next morning that I saw it wasn't there. My heart sank. I couldn't believe that someone would have stolen it."
   Lockwood contacted the King County Sheriff's Office and an officer came to his house. He confirmed that it had been stolen. Several branches were broken off from bushes on Lockwood's property and in addition, one of the bungee cords used to display the flag was on the ground.
   "It was clear that it was a theft," commented Lockwood and the officer agreed, saying that it was most likely some young kids who did it."
   Lockwood was very disturbed and saddened by this incident. He said, "It's my father's flag and it has such great personal value to me, but also, it really bothers me that citizens of this country would steal its flag. It's the symbol of this country and it's regrettable that there are people who would do such an act."
   Although Lockwood doesn't harbor any great hopes that the flag will be returned, he is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) who stole it or for the return of the flag.
   Those with any information can call him at (206) 623-1635, Ext. 486.