After arriving at a Middletown cemetery to pay their respect to family members, a Rhode Island couple finds a number of American flags in the trash.
Virginia and David DelNero were visiting both of their veteran fathers' gravesites at St. Columba Cemetery when they noticed flags were missing from multiple graves. According to the Newport Daily News, after a brief search, Virginia DelNero said she found them in the garbage.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars said all flags are required to be folded and then placed in a ceremonial fire for disposal.
The Office of Catholic Cemeteries released a statement saying:
"The Cemetery Office regrets this incident and has issued a reminder to all employees relative to the proper and dignified disposal of American flags. During the summer months, the office hires a number of younger individuals who may not be fully informed of the significance of such matters. Out of respect for the many veterans and their family members who visit and are interred in a Catholic Cemetery, office policy follows a strict protocol relative to ‘unserviceable' American flags. According to leading veterans' organizations such as The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, the approved proper disposal method is to burn the flags, a protocol the office strictly follows."