American flags thrown in dumpster at Bixby Cemetery

Posted at 8:21 PM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 17:39:37-04

BIXBY, Okla. -- A lack of patriotism, that's what some Bixby residents are saying after multiple American flags were thrown on the ground and then in a dumpster. 

Bixby residents say there are handful of veterans buried in the Bixby Cemetery and to see an American flag thrown away like trash, is unacceptable. 

The stars and stripes blow in the wind. 

"I’m pretty sure there are some people that were rolling over," Bixby resident Noelle Waller said. 

There's a different story behind every name. 

“I can feel my father behind me with his arm around me telling me I’m doing the right thing," Bixby resident Julia Gallagher said. 

Colorful floral arrangements sit on most graves, to remember those we love. 

“Any veteran would be disheartened," Gallagher said. 

But Sunday night, this symbol of America ended up on the ground. 

“No flag should ever end up in the trash can," Gallagher said. 

“I literally burst into tears when I saw the flags in the dumpster," Waller said. 

Julia Gallagher took photos and says she was shocked at the disrespect.

“We can’t discard our flags like we do our veterans now," she said.

Noelle Waller saw Gallagher's post on Facebook and drove to the Bixby Cemetery. She grabbed all of the flags from the dumpster and loaded them in her car. 

“The only choice for them is to be destroyed and it needs to be done correctly," she said.

Gallagher plans to give them to the boy scouts who placed them at the cemetery for Memorial Day, so they can retire the flags properly. 

“They were horrified," she said. 

The city owns the cemetery and posted a sign at the entrance. 

“I drive this road everyday and I have never really noticed the signs," Waller said. 

The city sent 2 Works for You a statement.

"Mowing of the Bixby Cemetery is performed by a third-party contractor. The contract includes removal and disposal of decorations left in place longer than permitted by city code. Unfortunately this year, the flags that were included as part of some Memorial Day displays were not taken down in accordance with accepted practices for removing American Flag decorations. The contractor has apologized for this error and agreed to gather all of the flags improperly handled and deliver them to the VFW for proper treatment. 

We apologize for the issue, and want to assure all citizens that no disrespect to the flag or to any of our service men or women was intended."

“The way they handled it was very disrespectful and quite frankly unacceptable," Waller said. 

"Pick up of the American Flag decorations by the contractor has begun and will continue until complete. Once all off the flags have been recovered, they will be delivered by the contractor to the City of Bixby. The City will turn those flags over to a local American Legion post to be retired properly at the upcoming American Legion Flag Retirement Ceremony to be held June 14, 2017."

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