BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A nonprofit group that helps to maintain a Georgia cemetery removed 70 Confederate flags from graves because they became worn and faded, and that they weren't stolen as some suspected, the group's president said.
Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans had placed the flags last April in Brunswick's Oak Grove Cemetery for Confederate Memorial Day, an official holiday in Georgia.
The veterans group contacted police this month when the flags went missing, The Florida Times-Union reported (http://bit.ly/2bvfHfN ). Group leaders suspected that someone took them because they depicted the Confederate battle emblem.
But Robert M. Gindhart III, president of the Oak Grove Cemetery Society's board, said the flags were removed because they had deteriorated to the point that they were no longer respectful.
Gindhart told the veterans group that "over a brief time the flags deteriorate to a desecrated condition. It is a dishonor to the flag and the veteran it is honoring," the Jacksonville newspaper reported.
The American Legion advises its members to remove flags from graves as soon as possible after displaying them each Memorial Day. In federal cemeteries, groups displaying U.S. or Confederate flags at gravesites are required to remove them no later than the first business day after the holiday.
Gindhart questioned why the veterans group didn't contact the cemetery society when it was discovered the flags were no longer on some graves, adding that would have prevented a police investigation, the paper reported.
The cemetery society does such tasks as cleanup work and conducting tours on the grounds, among other things.