The theme of the Rev. Jim Pohlman’s speech Monday at Peabody’s Memorial Day service was respecting the sacrifices of American soldiers and respecting the symbols — the American flag and the “Star-Spangled Banner” — that stand for them.
The Peabody Christian Church pastor told a story of a movie theater in Iraq were the sound kept going out during the “Star-spangled Banner” and the soldiers sang the rest of the song without music.
He also talked about the 1,000th soldier who died May 27 in Afghanistan — Jacob C. Leicht — a marine from Texas who died on his second tour of duty after being wounded by a roadside bomb in his first tour. According to Pohlman, Leicht vowed to die in combat.
But, these stories were sullied by the desecration of nine flags committed days before at Prairie Lawn. Pohlman brought out what remained of three of the flags, two of which were torn into strips.
Pohlman could not believe that someone in Peabody could have committed the act of vandalism and implored anyone with knowledge of the offense to contact local authorities to bring the person to justice.
“I am proud to be an American and I’m proud of the flag,” Pohlman said. “Give honor to whom it’s due.”