By Kay S. PedrottiJunior Hamrick is furious: ‘Those people don’t deserve to live in this county or this country, much less carrying around American flags,’ he said of the person or people who vandalized the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6542 memorial garden last weekend.They took about 40 flags that were planted on short poles all around the VFW building, post commander Hamrick said. Wrought iron benches and birdbath-type bird feeders were broken and tossed into the pond behind the post. The area had been turned into a shaded memorial and meditation garden by the VFW Auxiliary.One of the post members and a friend waded into the pond to retrieve as much of the damaged pieces as possible but Hamrick is still unsure whether everything has been recovered.’We’ll have it all fixed back in time for our Poker Run fundraiser on Aug. 9,’ he said. The post is sponsoring the ride to benefit Dana Cox, a former Carter’s Drug Store employee who has been diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer.’It just makes me sick to think people have so little respect for those who served in the military, even gave their lives, for this country,’ Hamrick said. ‘We think we know who did it and we have informed the Lamar County sheriff’s office.’One of the memorials in the garden is for Marcus R.’Snooky’ Johnson, known as one of Barnesville’s more colorful characters. He was wounded with the invasion forces at Normandy in World War II, spent more than two years in a coma in a European hospital and returned to Barnesville to become a successful businessman, according to Hamrick. Johnson and his wife Rubye both have memorial bricks in the garden.Anyone who has information about the incident or has seen a pile of American flags in their neighborhood should notify the sheriff’s office immediately at 770-358-5159.
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