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Flag Vandalism Mars Memorial Day in Several States

Christian Ashby, of Portland, Ore., holds an American flag that was vandalized outside of his home sometime late Saturday or early Sunday.

Christian Ashby, of Portland, Ore., holds an American flag that was vandalized outside of his home sometime late Saturday or early Sunday. (KPTV.com)

From Oregon to Minnesota to Ohio, vandals trampled on Old Glory over the Memorial Day weekend. In one Ohio town alone, approximately 25 American flags were found set ablaze on Monday.

At least one national veterans group called for those responsible for the "shocking and reprehensible" acts of vandalism to be quickly arrested and prosecuted.

Police in Wooster, Ohio, were going door-to-door early Tuesday in search of the people who torched roughly 25 flags and flagpoles along Saunders Drive and Morgan Street, Capt. John Quicci said.

"They were set on fire," Quicci told FoxNews.com, adding that an investigation is ongoing.

No suspects or motives had been identified, according to Quicci, who was unable to estimate damages to the 3-by-5-foot flags and the 10-foot metal poles placed outside of residents' homes by the annual Wooster Rotary Parade of Flags project.

The people who torched the flags face charges of criminal damaging and arson, Quicci said.

"We're treating this very seriously," he said.

In Minneapolis, a fire was set late last week to an American flag hanging outside a Marine veteran's home. The residence was spared and no injuries were reported, but the flag was destroyed. 

Elizabeth Hawley said she found the ashes Thursday morning and called the act "very disturbing." She said her husband is keeping his feelings reserved, but she knows he's upset.

Hawley told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that she thinks the flag-burning was a random act of vandalism.

In Portland, Ore., Christian Ashby and his wife awoke Sunday to find their American flag torn down, covered in obscenities and burned outside their home, KPTV.com reported. Flying the flag has special meaning to his family, Ashby said.

"Well, we have some close relatives, especially my wife, who had a cousin who suffered from [post-traumatic stress disorder] and took his own life," Ashby told the website. "So, we have some very dedicated family to veterans of the United States services. So, it means a lot to us to fly the flag."

Ashby said a local man who served two tours in Vietnam loaned him another flag after posting news of the vandalism online.

Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for AMVETS, a national organization representing 200,000 veterans, said he found the acts of vandalism "shocking and reprehensible," particularly on Memorial Day weekend.

"We absolutely condemn it," Gallucci told FoxNews.com. "Memorial Day is one of our country's most significant holidays and a chance to honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. For someone to desecrate the American flag on Memorial Day, it's unconscionable, it's unforgivable."

Gallucci called for quick closure to the ongoing investigations in at least three states.

"The people who are responsible for this need to be apprehended and held accountable for their actions," he said. "We shouldn't tolerate it, regardless of what the excuse is. We need to get to the bottom of it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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