I hope all of you read the letters to the editor on this page when they appear. This week you should take note of the letter about the Peabody-Burns football coach and team members helping to install the Avenue of Flags at Prairie Lawn Cemetery for this Memorial Day weekend. Highlighted are quite a different bunch of kids than those in the headlines about the Avenue of Flags in 2010, huh?
As is typical of this type of story, no cameras or print media were here this year to record the efforts made by our kids in honor of our veterans and their service. Rockin’ Rick Regan from Kissin’ whatever has not bothered to check in with us to see what is going on in 2011. But he was all about it in 2010, wasn’t he? At least for awhile … until it wasn’t news anymore. But of course, by then the damage was done. Peabody was smeared across the country as the community that turned a blind eye to the “children of influential citizens” who desecrated nine casket flags and got away with it.
According to Rockin’ Kissin’ Rick and various respondents to other media articles, the influential Peabody citizens, Police Chief Bruce Burke, and I were the prime shakers and movers in the attempt to hide the young culprits from the rest of the world. We were branded as the town that covered up the deeds to keep the names of the perpetrators secret.
Yeah, sure we did. You know about how often this newspaper gives anyone a bye for something like that.
Burke woke up that Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend to find that the flags had been ripped from their poles and in some cases shredded, and thrown to the ground. There were stories (untrue) of the flags having been urinated on. Burke was much maligned by the media … most especially Rockin’ Rick of radio fame, for not doing his job. But guess what? The cemetery is in the county, not in the city limits, and Chief Burke was never a player in the investigation.
Rockin’ Rick was not assuaged. He knew there were real villains in our town! He even offered to come to Peabody and run a REAL criminal investigation and he invited me to tag along. When I answered his e-mail and asked him when and where and what time, there was no response. To this day there is no response.
I, on the other hand, deserved all the poo-poo that Rockin’ Rick and the rest were able to thrust at me. It is part of my job description. I knew when I wrote the column about Kevin Lincheid and his part in inviting people to come to Peabody to protest the flag desecration that I was going to stir the pot. Okay. I am a big girl and I accept that when I type words in this column, there will often be consequences.
But one consequence that Rockin’ Rick didn’t anticipate was that Lincheid and I would sit down together and work out our differences. He and I talked about our local problems, the possible solutions, and our mutual allegiance to the veterans who have given much to make our world what it is. We talked about dogs and life, barbecue, and small town living. We ended up being friends. When my world came rocking to an end last July and The Mister died in seconds at our home, Kevin was one of the first to get a message to me. Things like that count.
He is one of the good guys, one of the men who fought to keep our country free and to hold fast the memory of the many other veterans who did the same. Months ago, I promised him that I would “make it right;” that I would tell the readers of this newspaper that he was most certainly not the bad guy, just a man who wanted the veterans lying in Prairie Lawn Cemetery to rest in peace, honored by their community. I am spelling that out today.
His job has changed and he spends less time in Peabody these days. I hope he knows (or will read this and find out) that Peabody youth were present and accounted for at the Avenue of Flags at Prairie Lawn Cemetery this year — a different group of Peabody youth.
And yes, Rockin’ Rick, we ARE proud of those kids!
— Susan Marshall