Please Return Patrick’s Flag

Please Return Patrick's Flag

Some things just don't make sense. One of those things was the theft of a flag from a flagpole at 101 Eleventh Avenue in North Wildwood, New Jersey on July 4, 2016.

This wasn't just any flag. It was the flag that covered the casket of Navy Seaman Patrick Corcoran and it was the only thing his family had to remember him by since Patrick and all of his possessions were lost at sea when his ship, the USS Frank E. Evans, was struck and sunk by the Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne. He was 19-years-old at the time.

At the request of Patrick's brother, Tom, and his sister, Suzanne, their neighbor Tom Schaffer raised the flag on the flagpole at his home to honor Patrick and his service — and all were stunned to find it missing the following day. As an Army veteran with 23 years service, Tom Schaffer was at a loss to explain the theft.

Among  the veterans who  gathered at the fire house at 15th and Central Avenue in North Wildwood on July 8th to appeal for the return of the flag were Patrick's brother and his wife, the mayor of North Wildwood, Patrick Rosenello, and veterans advocate Joe Griffies.

Mayor Rosenello said there will be no questions asked if the flag is returned forthwith and the family will not press charges.  Meanwhile, the police are investigating the theft. A reward has been posted for return of the flag.

Griffies, host of "The Welcome Home Show" on WIBG radio, was eloquent in explaining what this particular flag means not only to his family, but to all veterans who served and sacrificed in Vietnam and other foreign wars. Anyone with information should call Joe Griffies at 267-679-5193.

As noted earlier, some things just don't make sense. The return of this flag, however, does make sense and it will help to heal the loss that Patrick's family has suffered.

UPDATE:

 The flag that draped Patrick Corcoran’s casket has been returned!

When a  young woman came up to Tom Schaffer's porch on Tuesday, July 12, he said, "Can I help you?"  "No," she replied, " I'm just returning something that doesn't belong to me." With that she got back in her car and drove away. 

When Tom opened the box she left he found a flag and recognized certain markings on the rings fastened to the flag  so that, in fact, he knew it was Patrick’s flag.

Some things don’t make sense, but the return of the flag to Patrick Corcoran’s family was definitely the right thing to do. This is one story we are happy to report.

Beau Weisman, Editor