Flags thrown in trash at Mid-Michigan cemetery - WNEM TV 5

Flags thrown in trash at Mid-Michigan cemetery

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A dumpster at a local cemetery is painted with red, white and blue on the outside. It was finding those colors on the inside of the dumpster that had some people up in arms.

"There are individual responsibilities that we all carry and one of those is not desecrating the flag," said Matt Reitter, resident.

American flags once flew proud at the grave sites of the veterans buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Saginaw. Now they're mixed in with dying flowers and other trash collected from the grounds.

Reitter visited his parent's grave site at the cemetery on Thursday. He never served in the military, but he said he has plenty of loved ones who have fought for the stars and stripes.

"There's been a lot of blood spilled. The military guys that died - it's a respect for our country and it's just disappointing," Reitter said.

On Thursday the Catholic Diocese in Saginaw said it was a major mistake.

"We are extremely distressed and deeply sorry for the disgraceful treatment of the memory of a beloved veteran and our American flag at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. This action was shameful and there is no excuse. We are contacting the family to apologize and we extend our apologies to the entire community. Be assured that we are taking immediate steps so that such actions will never be repeated," the diocese said in a statement.

Reitter said he hopes it doesn't happen again.

"People in the military have earned this right for the freedom that I enjoy today. Whether you agree with the government or not, those folks who have given their lives for us and our freedom comes from that. So I value that," Reitter said.

Local veterans organizations said they also welcome any worn-out flags. They'll dispose of them properly, give them a proper retirement and make sure they receive the dignity they deserve.

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