American flag burned outside Virginia home of disabled veteran

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A disabled World War II veteran is stunned after the American flag was hanging outside of his Alexandria home was set on fire in the middle of the night.

Richard Cohen couldn’t believe his eyes when he discovered the melted and tattered flag right next to his doorstep.

To make matters worse, the incident happened on the day before Independence Day.

“I served under that flag and bled for it, really, and it was a personal affront,” Cohen told NBC4Washington.

The Army veteran lost the use of his left arm after being wounded by German machine gun fire in World War II.

Cohen calls the flag a very important symbol in his life.

Richard Cohen

“I have never seen anything like this before,” Cohen said.

But Cohen wasn’t the only victim of flag burning crimes. American flags were also burned at two neighbors’ houses.

"I thought it was a disgrace. It's our American flag. We're very proud of it," one neighbor said.

As a way to combat hate with pride, a neighbor helped Cohen put up a new American flag in front of his home.

While the flag burning incidents shocked the entire neighborhood, the residents say they are now using the crime to come together.

Neighbors say they will also fly American flags in response to the burnings.