By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) – If you have driven down Route 6 on Cape Cod recently, you couldn’t help but notice the banners strung up on the Route 149 overpass in West Barnstable. They were 14 flags representing our first responders, police officers, firefighters, EMS personnel and health care providers.

The flags were put up by Cape Cod Rep. Steve Xiarhos to honor those who put their own safety aside to help the rest of us. “It hurts to see this,” Xiarhos said. “It’s hurtful, it’s shameful, but we don’t give up we’ve been through worse and the first thing I did was order more flags.”

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On Thursday night, someone apparently sprayed a kind of acid on the flags.

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Flags honoring first responders were damaged on a Route 6 overpass (WBZ-TV)

“It was distressing to see,” said West Barnstable Fire Chief Joe Maruca. “We’re the fire department. We’re here to help everybody. We don’t care who you are. We don’t care anything about people except that they need help.”

In a time of COVID, the banners had a simple message: thank you. However, apparently, someone has little regard for the work first responders do.

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“These flags were put up to represent a large diverse group of men and women who basically give everything to their community,” said Sandwich Police Chief Peter Wack.

Bill Shields