Woman gives veteran flag that will fill the gap in Avenue of Flags.
The Fort Sill National Cemetery lost a precious symbol when an unknown thief stole an American flag on Veteran’s Day. However, one woman, Emily Kilgus, saw this as an excellent opportunity to give back to her community what she considers a sacred gift of an American flag. But this flag is no ordinary flag. Kilgus donated the very flag that once draped the casket of Richard P. French, a World War II veteran and Oklahoma native.
Marty Talley the cemetery manager says he still hopes the stolen flag will be returned but is truly touched by Kilgus’ response. The culprit entered the cemetery at night and pulled out of the ground one of the 62 flagpoles that line the visitor’s center. Talley commented that the thief probably took the pole to scrap for metal, but American flag flying atop it is something invaluable and unable to ever be replaced.
Each of the 62 flags in the Avenue of Flags once covered a casket of a deceased veteran and was later donated to the cemetery, only to fly on special occasions like Veterans Day. Emily was disgusted when she read about the stolen flag tragedy at Fort Sill National Cemetery and knew she must take action, but does admit the theft was not the only reason she decided to donate French’s flag. If she had known the cemetery accepted such donations, she would have easily parted ways with the flag a long time ago.
Emily and her husband were longtime friends with Chief Warrant Officer French and his wife. When both Frenches passed away, Emily inherited the artifact. Now his legacy can live on and his memory be never forgotten.
Credit: The Lawton Constitution