Katie Walker, of the Johnson City Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, with a 1st National Flag of the Confederacy like the two that were stolen. (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)
One of five flagpoles at Oak Hill Cemetery in Johnson City is empty this week for the second time this month after someone stole the Confederate flag it bore.
“It’s the second time in the last two weeks it’s happened,” said cemetery owner Tim McKinney. He found the empty flagpole, with its rope dangling in the wind, on Tuesday. He was there to mow the grounds.
“It was a brand new flag,” he said. The Confederate flag, which usually flies in a Confederate soldiers’ grave section, was provided by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
UDA President Katie Walker said she was surprised the first time the flag was taken, but disappointment replaced that when she got the second call from McKinney.
“I was surprised” the first time, she said. “I just didn’t think anybody would climb over that fence to do that. I figured it was a prank and wouldn’t happen again.”
When McKinney called her on Tuesday, Walker was “disappointed and a little angry that someone would do that in a cemetery. I see no reason why they should do that.”
Walker said there are 40 cemetery plots for Confederate soldiers, but only nine are occupied. In that section, which borders Boone Street, the organization installed a flagpole a couple of years ago to display the national Confederate flag.
“There are nine Confederate veterans buried in those plots. We wanted a way to honor them (so) we put up that flagpole and put a marker there,” she said.
Other Confederate soldiers — 60 in all — are buried throughout the cemetery, she said.
For now, that flagpole will likely stay empty, Walker said.
Anyone with information about the thefts can contact the Johnson City Police Department at 434-6166.