MILLINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - It's easy to see that the American flag has a special meaning in Millington the home of a once thriving naval base.
"I think of my eight uncles, and four of them served in World War II at one time; one in Korea," Millington Mayor Richard Hodges said. "My cousin, who lost two legs and an arm served in Vietnam, and three of my friends I played football with, who got killed in Vietnam."
That's why Hodges was outraged when a flag that flies outside the city's community center was found burned.
"This kind of thing will not be put up with in Millington at all," he said.
Hodges said the flag was recovered by a maintenance man, Jimmy Davis, after a citizen found it lying in the mud near a swing set in a park.
"I was hurt by," Davis said. "It bothered me. So many people sacrificed a lot for that flag."
City leaders are hoping someone can help police find the person responsible for desecrating their symbol of freedom.
"Unfortunately, it's not illegal to burn a flag," said Millington Police Chief Ray Douglas. "If it belongs to somebody else, it is a crime to burn that flag. In this case, it belongs to the city of Millington."
The mayor considered taking the law into his own hands.
"I'd like to make them eat that flag, what's left of it," Hodges said.
Instead, he's posting a reward with his own money.
"I am personally offering a thousand dollar reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever did it," he said.
Hodges said the burned flag will remain in his office until someone is caught - motivation to seek justice for Old Glory in a place that state has officially proclaimed 'Flag City.'
If you have any information that could lead to an arrest call the Millington Police Department at 901-873-3333.