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Staten Island World War II Vet Finds American Flag Torched Outside His Home

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A torched American flag outside Harold Bernstein's home on Staten Island (credit: Glenn Schuck/1010 WINS)

A torched American flag outside Harold Bernstein’s home on Staten Island (credit: Glenn Schuck/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Harold Bernstein, an 85-year-old World War II veteran, returned to his home after catching a Staten Island Yankees game last week to find the American flag in front of his house burned.

Bernstein is terribly upset and says whoever the culprit is should be ashamed of themselves.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports: Shocking Act Of Vandalism

“They don’t know how fortunate they are to live in a country like we live in where we got freedom of speech, freedom of everything,” Bernstein told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.

Bernstein said he will keep the scorched flag hanging outside of his home until whoever torched it is caught. He said can’t believe his eyes when he stares at his singed stars and stripes. The former Marine and life-long patriot said he fought valiantly and heroically in Okinawa for his country and old glory, making this incomprehensible.

“I fought for the flag. That’s one of the reasons I’m so upset about it,” Bernstein told CBS 2′s Scott Rapoport.

On a tree-lined street filled with American flags he just wants to know why this happened. Other flags in the area were not damaged.

“I’m sad, what can I tell you? Words can’t explain my feelings,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein is the father of three, grandfather of 16, and the great-grandfather of 13.

Last month, just days before July 4, several residents in Roselle Park, N.J. awoke to find their American flags burned.

Bernstein’s neighbors said they are equally baffled by the vandalism.

“Harold’s a good guy. I don’t know anybody who would do it to him,” neighbor Ron Knapp said.

While many speculate this was a prank by kids, Bernstein said this is anything but child’s play.

“The one that burned my flag should burn, and I mean that with all sincerity,” he said.

If the person responsible for this is caught and convicted, what would the appropriate punishment be in this case?

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