HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - The American Flag is the symbol of ournation and often stands at the resting place of veterans to recognizetheir service, but dozens of flags placed at the graves in one HotSprings cemetery wound up in the trash.
It is a disgrace the Veterans ofForeign Wars said it's now trying to correct.
Tish Tucker visits her father's grave at Oak Grove Cemetery in Arkansas everyweek, laying flowers and paying her respects. But last Saturday, she andher husband made a disheartening discovery.
"It's just heartbreaking to spend the money to come over here andfeel at peace, and your stuff is down the side of a hill," said Tucker.
Tucker discovered nearly every grave -- including her father's --wasstripped of flowers. What upset her even more was the fact that Americanflags placed on the graves of veterans for Memorial Day were alsothrown in the trash.
"None of the flags that I saw were torn or tattered. They were allbrand new flags. All the flowers were brand new," said Tucker.
"Someone didn't know how to dispose of the flags or have somebodydispose of them. It was sad," added VFW Post 2278 Commander Will BeamsJr.
Beams said he heard about the improper disposal through the localnewspaper. He went out to the cemetery and recovered 19 flags himself.
"Now that we've recovered them, there is a ceremony that is dictatedby the U.S. Flag code for properly retiring the flag, and it does goalong with an appropriate burning and a burying of the ashes," explainedBeams.
Beams believes it is an honest mistake on the part of the cemetery.His post plans to replace each flag this Friday morning and hold aspecial ceremony for the veterans affected.
"American service members have fought and died for those colors sincewe became a country. It represents every person who has died in serviceto this country. It's pretty important," finished Beams.
Our sister station KTHV 11 spoke with one of the board members for Oak Grove Cemetery.They said all this is a misunderstanding between the board and themowers hired to keep up the cemetery. They said they regret the mistake, but are glad the VFW is helping replace the flags with new ones.
The VFW said they are happy to properly dispose of any flags foranyone that needs their assistance and that goes for every VFW acrossthe country. They said they do it free of charge. All you have to do isgive your local chapter a call.