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American flags stolen from front lawn

Each one represents 10 troops killed.

Posted: April 14, 2008 2:16 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Retired Vietnam era serviceman, Alex Reza, stand by the American Flags on his front yard. Each flag represents 10 casualties in the Iraq war.

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About a year and a half ago, Alex Reza started planting American flags in his front lawn as of silent protest against the war in Iraq.

Last week, his display apparently provoked a silent crime.

Late Wednesday night, Reza said someone stole about 75 of the small flags from his Newhall home. Placing a flag for every 10 American troops killed, he had put about 400 flags in front of his house.

"Come up and talk to me," Reza, 68, said of whoever stole the flags.

"But to steal them in the middle of the night?

"The word 'cowardly' came to mind."

Reza said he filed a report with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and was advised to think about placing a security camera in his yard. He said he's considering a motion-sensitive floodlight.

"I want people to think, discuss, agree, disagree," he said. But to simply steal the flags was, he said, "un-American."

As of Sunday, the Associated Press reported that at least 4,032 members of the United States military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.

Himself a retired Vietnam War-era soldier, Reza drew the ire of a few of his neighbors with the flag display last year. He said at the time that one woman said her son was full of anxiety because the flags reminded him of his uncle serving in the war.

In the months since, Reza said he has had little backlash to the flags' continued presence, and added they have sparked conversations here and there.

The thefts won't stop him from putting up more flags, he said.

"I'm going to keep them up, one way or another," he said.

He also said his reasoning hasn't changed from a year ago, when he said, "It's not political. People need to think. That's what I hope my flags do - make people appreciate the tragic loss of life."

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