Flowers At Cemetery Thrown In Ditch - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/20/04-Morris County

Flowers At Cemetery Thrown In Ditch

Hundreds of flowers and even small American flags are being removed from grave sites and dumped in a ditch. The flowers were thrown away at the Clark Community Cemetery in Morris county. The cemetery is located off of highway 259, just north of Lone Star in Morris county.

Officials with the cemetery association say the flowers were wilted and they were simply discarding them. But at least one family member believes all the graves have been desecrated.

Sue Lanier visits her granddaughter's grave at least twice a week. Four year old Haylee died three years ago in a car accident. "I always come to make sure that it's taken care of. Make sure there are no weeds, no ants, and just to talk to her," says Sue.

Haylee's grave site is decorated with some of her favorite things. Sue and her husband often bring flowers to Haylee's grave. But last week, they discovered flowers in the entire cemetery were gone. "When we drove up, it was just a barren cemetery. There was nothing here except one arrangement of flowers," says Sue. "We looked over at what I call the pit. I guess it's their dumpage. We saw all these flowers."

Hundreds of flowers, and even American flags, dumped in this ditch across from the cemetery. The President of the cemetery association says it's policy that if the flowers are wilted, faded, or lying on the ground, they will be removed.

But we found the vast majority of the real flowers were not wilted. Most of the silk ones were not faded. Sue, herself, dug through the pile to recover some of the flowers. "It's our responsibility to honor our dead. If we can't honor our dead, we don't have much of a nation. I felt like that our dead had been desecrated," says Sue.

The law indicates disposing of American flags in that manner could possibly be a class 'A' misdemeanor.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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