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Vandalism At African-American Cemetery, Memorial Day Weekend

American Flags Placed at Headstones Ripped from Their Poles

Mike Paige headstone with replacement flag and vandalized flag
David Thomas holding one of the sticks that had the flag ripped off.

David Thomas holding one of the sticks that had the flag ripped off.

RYE, NY — The African American cemetery at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye was apparently vandalized over the Memorial Day weekend.

On Saturday, May 28, while at the African American cemetery at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye, setting up for the annual Memorial Day ceremony there, David Thomas noticed Hank Birdsall of the American Legion Post# 93.  Thomas thought Mr. Birdsall was placing more flags but found out that Birdsall and another Post# 93 member had placed flags the week prior and when he returned on Friday, May 27, to make sure everything was OK he noticed that some of the flags were missing.

Upon closer inspection he noticed that someone had ripped the flags from the sticks and left the sticks by the headstones.  Roughly 35 or more flags were in this condition.  Mr. Birdsall suggested they leave the empty sticks where they were by the headstones and add new flags.  It is not known who or why the flags were vandalized and it didn’t appear that flags in the main part of the Greenwood Union Cemetery were vandalized in the same manner.

“Not only is this a sign of disrespect to those interred at the site but it is a disturbing reminder of the current wave of intolerance displayed by those who strive to separate us and strip us of our identities as citizens of the United States.  Who gets to decide who is an American,” said Thomas.  He went on to ask the rhetorical question, “Where are our flags?”

Mr. Thomas filed a police report with the Rye Police Department.  Without cameras, it is not likely the perpetrators will be discovered.  There are no new developments.


About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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