Symbol of freedom defaced in Los Banos, veterans found flags tagged with spray

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- American flags only come out a few times a year and on Veteran's Day, more than 500 of them line the streets of Los Banos.

This year, veterans found the symbol of freedom completely covered in graffiti.

"Everybody here was really upset. Veterans fight for that flag, Veterans die for that flag," said Alan Cotta.

Commander Alan Cotta says the flag was placed in Colorado Park on the morning of Veterans Day. He says they found the defaced flag just a few hours later.

"We're hoping to draw attention and stop people from doing these kind of things," said Alan Cotta.

Cotta and another veteran displayed the vandalized flag at the American Legion Hall.

Patricia McCoy, an Air Force Veteran, took these pictures to make the community aware.

"I want the community to talk to their kids and let them know this happened here and this isn't okay," said Patricia McCoy.

Police say they have increased patrol around the park, but they still don't have a suspect.

"We've recently made several arrests but it is unknown if their connected to that act of vandalism," said Justin Melden.

As an army war veteran, Cotta says the flag represents his country and the years of his life he spent fighting for it.

"You fight for it, you salute it, and when you die its spread over your coffin. It's what we're here for and what we're here to honor as veterans," said Cotta.

"We have to make sure we have the correct number in all of our routes."

Despite the incident, the tradition will continue. Cotta says they plan to replace their sign of resilience, and have it wave proudly next holiday.
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