GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Law enforcement and regional public safety agencies in the Gettysburg Borough and the surrounding area said Wednesday they are aware of online posts claiming an American flag burning will take place in the Gettysburg National Cemetery on July 4.
They are also aware of rumors that counter-protestors may show up to 'protect' the flag.
"There will be folks here who want to help, or what they envision as help, protect the National Park. There are going to be folks here who are going to come even if it's a trolling post because they're not sure that it's a trolling post," said Gettysburg Police Chief R. W. Glenny Jr.
"If Group A shows, Group B shows. If Group A doesn't show, Group B is still likely to show," said Jason Martz, acting public affairs officer of Gettysburg National Park.
However, Glenny and park officials stress they do not know if the online rumored events are fact or fiction.
"I can't say with 100% certainty one way or the other, that's why I'm not willing to make that comment on whether it's real or not real," said Glenny.
"That's the funny thing about rumors. We don't know. So, we're taking it seriously," said Martz.
Glenny said the Gettysburg police station has received 'dozens' of calls. But, he stressed law enforcement is aware of the situation as well as agencies on the state and federal level. He said everyone is taking appropriate measures to manage any threats to people and/or property.
Glenny, along with Cumberland Township Police Chief Donald Boehs and Gettysburg National Military Park Chief Ranger Joseph Lachowski, asks residents and visitors to call their local law enforcement agencies if they observe any suspicious activity.
"What's being reported on facebook right now is a peaceful demonstration and that's what we'd hope it would be if it materializes," said Charles Gable, Gettysburg borough manager. Gable said Gettysburg will host a fireworks show July 4th and community leaders hope people will come out to celebrate. He added, "we want people from different backgrounds to come here and appreciate the history."
Gettysburg National Park is also welcoming visitors to the park for celebrations during the fourth of July. It has also introduced a free Virtual Tour that includes 18 videos and follows the Auto Tour that encompasses much of the July 1-3, 1863 battlefield.
The new Virtual Tour can be found on the Gettysburg National Military Park website at www.nps.gov/gett