Couple says flag burner needs to be taught a lesson in respect

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A couple calls the act of burning their American flag a foolish prank and they say it could have burned their house down. But what angered them more was that a so-called prank showed extreme disrespect to our nation's veterans.

Police call the incident unusual for the area. They haven't said yet if this was a prank, or more serious. Meanwhile, the couple it happened to say the culprit needs to learn a lesson in respect.

“I always believed in flying the flag. It was one thing that we grew up with. You be patriotic. You do what you can for your country," Mike Collins said.

That's why Mike feels what someone did to this flag on his property was so egregious. Collins served in the military, comes from a big military family, and once shuttled disabled vets. While he and his wife Sue feared what the burning flag could have done to their home, they're more enraged by the disrespect

"It was sad and it was disgraceful and disrespectful to our country," Sue said.

"It just enrages me to think that these kids today don't have any kind of appreciation for what allows us to fly that flag,” Mike said.

Burned bits of what was left of the flag are all that remained and part of it has fused to the driveway concrete. Mike doubts whoever is responsible will ever be caught. But if they are, he doesn't think jail time is a suitable punishment.

"What I would like to have them do is spend a month at the VA hospital volunteering their time and their efforts, just to see what these guys went through so we have the privilege to fly that flag," he said.

A new flag makes its home outside the Collins' house after several people offered to buy them a new one.

“Not two hours after it went on Facebook, our grandson, Sergeant Luke Buckwalter stationed at Fort Leavenworth, came and presented us with a new flag, and it really meant a lot to us,” Sue said.

Mike and Sue want to thank all those, including several church members, who offered to replace the flag. This incident happened in the 22600 block of West 53rd Place in Shawnee. If you can help police find those responsible for this flag burning, give them a call at 913-631-2150.