To Whom It May Concern,
Cannon Park in downtown Canton was a patriotic vision this past week, . They were erected with care by Salute to Our Veterans, a local veterans group.
On Wednesday afternoon, September 14, I was speaking to a group of Pre-Trial Diversion teens, as I do every month, and I looked out the window and saw all of the flags. I have been a part of many community and political events, and I know how it usually goes—the same group of people to volunteer to set up for something are usually the same people who wind up breaking everything down. I thought it would be a nice gesture to take advantage of the 15 Pre-Trial Diversion participants and do this job for them. I wouldn’t like the idea of my mother or my wife having to do this job in the rain or the hot sun, and it would have taken several hours to accomplish. These 15 teens and I got the job done in 30 minutes. We packed them in as many containers as we could find in my office (boxes, bins and one clean small, Rubbermaid trash can), and stacked them in the front lobby of the Historical Cherokee Courthouse, and tried to get in touch with someone to let them know where we had them.
I know Mrs. (Lori) Pesta from the Republican women’s group and that is the group we were trying to get in touch with about the flags, again another mistake on my part. After work (Friday), I did what I could to try and make amends. I helped roll up and put away many of the flags properly in large containers and assisted with the cleanup effort at the gazebo.
Mrs. Pesta and John Marinko and several other volunteers were here most of the day. I am sorry for ruining their afternoon.
I never meant any harm.
Unbeknownst to me, these flags were slated to be a part of a September 16. I was mortified to discover this, as I never would have removed them had I known. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by giving the Pre-Trial Diversion participants a taste of community service and getting the flags out of the elements in a timely manner.
I should have gotten prior approval before removing the flags. I was just trying to help.
David Cannon Jr., Cherokee County Solicitor General