Century old flag taken from Monarch Bay home during Independence Day festivities
By Andrea Papagianis
Each Independence Day for the last 20 years, Lois LaBahn has proudly flown an American flag that she has carried with her throughout most of her life. This past July 4th was no exception.
In keeping with tradition, LaBahn’s family hung Old Glory as part of the Monarch Bay community celebration, but when the festivities ended the flag was gone.
“If this were just an ordinary flag it wouldn’t be such a big deal,” said LaBahn’s grandson Patrick Harvey.
Originally, the flag belonged to LaBahn’s grandparents who lived in Quincy, Ill. In 1937, the then 6-year-old girl was given the 45-star flag, and carried it across the nation throughout her adult life.
Flags bearing just 45 stars where first commissioned in 1896 shortly after Utah became part of the union on January 4. Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt all served under the flag, until 1908 after Oklahoma’s November statehood was granted the year prior.
From Pasadena to Henderson, Nev., during World War II, and Stockton to Altadena after, LaBahn has kept the flag close. She and the flag made their way to Arlington, Va. before settling back in California, right in Dana Point. Since her return in 1986, Bahn has flown the flag each July 4.
“Considering this one is an antique … and something that she has had in her possession for most of her life it is distressing to me that someone would steal it, particularly on Independence Day itself,” Harvey said.
The family has requested the flag be returned to the Monarch Bay neighborhood guard station, at Pacific Coast Highway where Crown Valley Parkway turns into Monarch Bay Drive. If returned, no questions will be asked, Harvey said.