WWII veteran’s flag burned by RS man to be replaced by Archie Hay Post #24

Carolyn Soracco: "You matter. Life should be valued and cherished, not lived in fear."

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Robert Allen Arthur, center, shown during his WWII service. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Soracco)

By Ann Jantz, Wyo4News

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (Dec. 11, 2019) — A woman whose ex-boyfriend is alleged to have burned the American flag that draped her veteran grandfather’s casket will join her family Saturday to receive a special replacement flag from American Legion Archie Hay Post #24.

Carolyn Soracco

That woman, Carolyn Soracco, invites residents to this special presentation at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Rock Springs Municipal Cemetery as part of the Legion’s National Wreaths Across America Day observance. She said she hopes people come and show support for one veteran who was terribly disrespected and help put to right this wrong that was done him and his memory.

Soracco’s ex, Jesse Bowler, sent a video to Soracco’s little brother in a Facebook message a little after Nov. 12, when Soracco received a protection order against Bowler. In the video is a flag burning on a grill, with a man taunting the family.

Soracco said she left the flag in a closet when she finally gained the courage to leave Bowler. He apparently was contacted about returning the flag; not too long after that, Bowler is alleged to have sent the video.

The YouTube post that made the social media rounds in Rock Springs.

Soracco believes the flag in the video was the flag she left behind when she fled.

Soracco’s story was first reported by a Salt Lake City news station earlier this week.

Jesse Bowler (SCSO photo)

Bowler, 31, of Rock Springs, is currently being held in the Sweetwater County Detention Center for allegedly violating the protection order. His bond is set at $7,500.

According to the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office jail roster, Bowler was arrested Dec. 5; Soracco said he was arrested after he followed her to the sheriff’s office and attempted to run her off the road.

Soracco noted Bowler may also be charged with additional crimes, including arson, stalking and destruction of property.

Soracco’s grandfather is Robert Allen Arthur, who served as a TEC4 sniper with the U.S. Army during World War II and helped liberate concentration camps. Soracco said he died from colon cancer in May of 1976 and was buried in Las Vegas.

“He (Bowler) disgraced a war veteran; that’s the lowest of the low,” Soracco said.

Post Adjutant Leonard Merrell said Archie Hay Post #24 is presenting the flag “as a courtesy to a woman and a veteran who were disrespected.” He, too, said Bowler should be charged with arson.

“It was not his flag,” Merrell told Wyo4News. “This disrespect needs to be corrected … it will not stand. We want to make sure his (Robert Arthur’s) memory is properly honored.”

Robert Allen Arthur’s gravesite in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Soracco)

Two soldiers from Powell, Wyoming, will be coming down for the presentation, Merrell added.

Soracco is in the process of trying to get her life back in order, now that she is “finally a person again.” Since getting out of the abusive relationship with Bowler — who she said kept her isolated and threatened to kill her and her children — she is taking some time to get to know Rock Springs better and enjoying every day.

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She did admit to not being able to sleep easily, and she is fearful when approached from the back. She said she has been threatened by Bowler’s friends. Yet she believes in time it all will pass, and despite her fears she will survive to live a better life.

Soracco also has a message for other women dealing with domestic violence.

“Do not waste time because time is valuable and every second counts. Seek help because anything can happen, no matter how strong you think you are. Get out when you can,” she said. “You matter. Life should be valued and cherished, not lived in fear.”

Robert Allen Arthur during his later life. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Soracco)

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