Banners honoring veterans vandalized in Greene County

July 24, 2017 06:31 PM

CAIRO -- After serving in World War II, Leta Skeeter Arnold was memorialized on Main Street in the hamlet of Cairo. Now her banner has a foot long slice through its bottom corner, leaving it flapping in the wind.

"The way I look at it, it's an individual who really has not had an opportunity to appreciate history," said Sylvia Hasenkopf, Cairo Historical Society President.

Hasenkopf has counted seven banners that were sliced all along Main Street.  She came up with the idea for the banners and spent thousands of hours over two years researching each of the 289 veterans. She published a book with a biography of each, and works with a whole group to put up and take down the banners each year.

Now, she is taping back together the ones that were sliced.  

"We've never had any trouble with these banners years in the past, so nobody would think this would happen," said Sgt. Rick Busch, Town of Cairo Police Department. "They mean so much to the community, there are people who sacrificed their lives for us and some of these banners have their names on them."

Town of Cairo Police Department thinks this happened sometime between June 16th and 18th. Sgt. Busch is collecting surveillance footage. The banners on Main Street hang about six feet off the ground, low enough for someone to reach.

Each banner will cost over a hundred dollars to replace. Hasenkopf says donations are already coming in to the historical society. That's the positive part of this story for her.  

"The people here have come forward and offered to help us replace the banners that have been damaged to a degree that has really surprised me," said Hasenkopf.

The taped banners will hang for the rest of this year. New banners will be ordered for next season.

You can donate to the fund to replace the banners by mailing donations to Cairo Historical Society at PO Pox 803 Cairo, NY 12413.

Anyone with information, call Cairo Police Department at (518) 622-2324. Police are confident they will find the individual who did this.

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WNYT Staff

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