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Vandals target fallen Vt. soldier's memorial - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vandals target fallen Vt. soldier's memorial

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -

Regina Meckle says she comes by her son's memorial nearly every day. Kyle graduated from Brattleboro High School in 2001, and Meckle says he was well-known and well-liked throughout the community.

"He was the kid known with the red car-- '69 Chevelle," she said. "Just an overall great boy."

Shortly after receiving his high school diploma, Kyle had his sights set on serving the nation. He was deployed to Iraq two months before the war started. While on night patrol, his convoy was ambushed. There were no survivors. He was only 20.

As the years went on, Regina says it was this memorial that helped her heal. With help from the VFW, the community rallied together and raised $10,000 to build the Kyle Charles Gilbert memorial bridge. This year marks the 10th that the flag in his honor has been flying.

"It just makes me smile to think because it is a place I can go drive by or stop in and just to talk to him, and look at his name-- and see what he said, 'don't forget me,'" Meckle said.

But Meckle says on Tuesday her world came crashing down. Police say in the early morning they received a call about some vandalism downtown. The lockbox that once held up Kyle's flag had been smashed open with a brick and the flag was gone. Police say they received another call shortly afterward.

"They noticed a burnt object in the road. And upon further investigation they looked at it and saw it was an American flag," Brattleboro Police Capt. Michael Fitzgerald said.

Although police have not been able to 100 percent confirm that was the same flag from Kyle's memorial, Fitzgerald says he strongly believes it was.

"It's just a big slap in the face," Meckle said. "And that just ripped my heart out. And I know it ripped a lot of people's hearts out."

Meckle says this memorial represented more than Kyle, it was for all veterans. Although the original flag is gone, Sen. Patrick Leahy will be sending one to their family that once flew over the U.S. Capitol.

"This is such an outrageous mark of disrespect and I just want them to know that I feel the same way, as a U.S. senator. And I want the flag replaced as quickly as possible," said Leahy, D-Vermont.

A new tribute to a Vermont soldier and his sacrifice.

"So, at least we have that covered, and I just thank their office for that," Meckle said.

Police say they do not have any suspects but are aggressively following leads. They are in the process of collecting video from businesses and surveillance cameras downtown during the time of the vandalism.

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US flag stolen and torched in Brattleboro

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