Andrew Dys

Patriotism beats vandalism. Flag, flagpole again stand proudly at Rock Hill apartment complex

Vandals, brigands, and villains take note: Don’t mess with the patriotic people at Oak Hollow Apartments.

Especially the residents’ American flag and flagpole. The flag there was stolen and the pole cut in half last February. And the residents and management have been fuming about the desecration of Old Glory.

Many residents wanted the public display of the flag rebuilt. So the complex owners hired a company to dig up the concrete foundation of the old pole, install a new one. Then they bought a brand new American Flag.

The cost was over $500 for the flag pole alone, said Shelly Risk, manager of the apartments on York Avenue in southern Rock Hill, but cost when it comes to love for country isn’t the issue.

“What matters is the people here love America and are proud of America,” Risk said. “When someone took the flag ... people who live here were outraged and shocked. There is another word for it. They were mad.”

Some are still mad.

“Nobody has any business cutting down the American flag at these apartments,” said resident John Henry Hemphill. “People need to leave our American flag alone.”

The original flagpole was installed 13 years ago in front of the office for the apartments, and is tended by a Marine Corps veteran. The plot always has flowers and is a beacon for all who live there or drive by.

Resident Larry Strait called what happened to the flag “terrible.”

The America that the flag represents to the people of Oak Hollow Apartments is far stronger than any piece of pipe. This is an apartment complex where residents, neighbors, and Rock Hill police rescued people from a fire in 2013.

No one has been arrested for taking the flag and damaging the flagpole in February. But the flag is flying again on York Avenue and shows that vandals come and go, but patriotism can’t be cut in half and carted off.

“Our flag flies proudly again, for all to see,” Risk said.

Patriotism exists in hearts of people at Oak Hollow Apartments, and is unbreakable.