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'I Am Truly Sorry'

After news surfaced that the Cherokee County Solicitor General ordered the removal of 3,000 flags planted in Downtown Canton for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, David L. Cannon Jr. issued this apologetic statement.

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

Kathy September 18, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Perfect example of an honest mistake...let's give the guy a break and move on. Nothing good can come from any type of lawsuit. I say forgive and forget, in honor of the very men and women we were recognizing with the flags in the first place.
Brandon Roberts September 18, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Forgive & Forget? He truly disrespected our flag and all of the heroes they represented.
Marjorie S. Wood September 18, 2011 at 08:27 PM
I disagree with you, Mr. Roberts. Have you ever made a mistake?
Brandon Roberts September 18, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Yes, I have. No one is perfect; but, I have never intentionally disrespected our flag!
Marjorie S. Wood September 18, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Mr. Cannon clearly explained what happened and I believe him. Everyone is free to believe what they want.
Brandon Roberts September 18, 2011 at 10:40 PM
I can't believe anyone would believe someone who clearly disrespected the icon of our country. For one, he did not contact "Support to Our Veterans" organizers. He took it upon his self to send the pretrial diversion teens across the street to "steal" someone else's property! The teens then brought back their boxes, bins, and trash receptacle and strewn the sacred flags all over the front desk and floor of the (old) county courthouse. I saw firsthand the flags all over the floor. This is inappropriate, disgusting, and disgraceful to our county, all the volunteers who put the flags out, and to all the fallen heroes and their families in which they represented!
Frank Jones September 19, 2011 at 12:21 AM
@Brandon -- You say the "pretrial diversion teens" went over and collected the flags. Could it be that the teens haven't been educated in the proper handling of the flag? Sounds to me that the teens' parents have fallen down on their job! Lastly, I assume that you are a good Christian, so give the man a break and forgive him.
Frank Jones September 19, 2011 at 12:29 AM
And on the issues of "inappropriate, disgusting, and disgraceful", what about the lies that sent our young men to Iraq, the paying of contractors (i.e. mercenaries) 3-5 times what we pay our soldiers (who protected the mercenaries), and the deplorable hospital conditions some of our wounded soldiers came home to...Now that's truely INAPPROPRIATE, DISGUSTING AND DISGRACEFUL...Where's your outrage on that?
Ariel Harris September 19, 2011 at 05:00 PM
It appears to not only have been an honest mistake, but an action taken with the best of intentions, and Mr. Cannon owned up to his actions AND apologized. My late husband enlisted in the marines during the wind up of Vietnam and in the army (airborne rangers) during the Iran Contra affair and deeply cared about this country and everything the flag stands for. He would be one of the first to accept Mr. Cannon's apology and to thank him for trying to do a good deed.
Mandy westbrook September 19, 2011 at 07:25 PM
David Cannon is a respected resident of Canton, and was just trying to help out his community. He would never have done anything to disrespect the community, the soldiers, or his country
Lynne Satterfield Rollins September 20, 2011 at 12:30 AM
I have known David Cannon since his pre-school days. Both of his grandfathers were WWII veterans and members of The American Legion. His father, and several uncles served during the Vietnam War. If his strong family had not taught him about patriotism and respect for Old Glory, then his Club Scout leader, Webelo leader and Boy Scout leader did. David had the best of intentions as he stated in his apology. It is a real shame when someone tries to help others and it backfires in their face. Maybe we should all look the other way, never offer to help anyone and just mind our own business... No, that is not the American way to treat others and not the way David was taught. Thank you David for trying to help and teach the teens a lesson. If you had had the right size containers for all the flags to fit it, you would be praised by everyone.
Proud American September 20, 2011 at 02:09 PM
You are certainly entitled to you opinion and I applaud you for taking a stand against disgracing the USA flag. I'm sure Mr. Cannon is a good old boy and a fine man. "Forgive and forget", sure why not, however the message he passed on the the teens was wrong. Should we be embarrassed for holding our elected official feet to the fire? Absolutely not! Republicans should hold their feet to the fire. None of the people who speak negatively about the Veterans support for took place where not there and did not observe the flags piled high on the floor or in trash cans. You should be embarrassed for even offering support for anyone who disrespects the USA flag. According to Mr. Cannon, however, " the trash can was clean" so it was OK to stuff it full of flags. We may forgive, but we will never forget. Thats what we were demonstrating by presenting the colors as well. Never Forget the 9/11 victims! In addition, Mr. Cannon has apologized on the TV cameras, in email. BTW: the pre trial teens were following the orders of the high ranking official in our county and on city property. They are not to blame. They couldn't say "no" to Mr. Cannon. The flag represents the Freedom of this country and our brave men and women go into battle with a flag patch on their shoulder. Can you tell them to their faces we should forgive and forget? It doesn't matter who removes the flags or for what stupid reason, it was wrong! Thanks to all who protect our flags and our Veterans. good
Proud American September 20, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Great Job for supporting the Veterans! Always stand up for America.

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