The son of a veteran visits his father’s grave every week at the Rhode Island Veterans cemetery, but was shocked to find piles of torn and dirty American flags dumped in the cemetery last weekend.
Upon seeing the tattered American flags, Stan Sniezyk submitted photos of a pile of flags next to a dumpster and another pile of flags next to an open storage shed, to “Call 12 for Action.”
“It just broke my heart because everyone in this cemetery fought under that banner and every fiber of that flag is their blood, sweat, and tears,” Sniezyk told WPRI 12.
Within a couple of days on social media, thousands of people shared the photos and were outraged by what they saw.
“People are absolutely outraged at what they’ve done, how they’ve disgraced the American flag in a veterans cemetery of all places,” Sniezyk said.
Rhode Island’s director of Veterans Affairs, Kasim Yarn, saw the photos online and implemented new policies so that flags are properly folded and stored. He also instituted a new inspection process at the veterans cemetery.
“I was speechless when I saw,” he told WPRI 12. “Flags were not stowed properly and prepared for proper disposal. Flags were in bags, on the ground. The place was a mess, totally. Procedures weren’t being followed.”
The flags were later properly burned.