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I-Team: Families raise concerns over conditions of veterans’ graves at Maple Hill Cemetery


HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Questions are being raised tonight about how the graves of veterans are being taken care of at a Luzerne County cemetery.

Veterans and their families say it appears American flags and grave markers were run over with a lawnmower.

Now they want to know why it happened. Veterans and their families are demanding answers, they want to know how and why this could happen.

“This is sickening to my stomach. You could see where over a few feet these pieces of flags laying on the ground,” said Aaron York, U.S. Army veteran.

Aaron York is a U.S. Army veteran and he and his sister, Sheila Brandon, come often to the Maple Hill Cemetary in Hanover Township to visit the grave of their mother and to honor those who have served the country. But, they say in recent days they have found American flags ripped up and grave markers bent. They appear to have been run over with a lawnmower.

“I was appalled by it because to see our fellow brothers in arms, their markers are chewed up by the lawnmowers, stuff like that, they are just running the placards over,” York said.

“To see flags chewed up on the ground, see our colors they are not supposed to touch the ground, it’s disrespectful,” explained Sheila Brandon, veteran volunteer.

Brandon volunteers for veterans groups and at the V.A. Hospital. She says the sight of the flags on the ground made her sick.

“We noticed pieces of flags strew all over the ground. I started picking them up and my brother said what are you doing? I’m picking up flags. What’s going on? We see all markers bent over. Our vets should be honored like they should be,” Brandon said.

The managers of the Maple Hill Cemetery insist the damage was not intentional.

“We always take care of the graves of our veterans. Sometimes the flags and markers cannot be seen. When we do run them over, we always return and pick them up. Bad weather including high wind and rain knock them over and we cannot see them, we are running behind a bit,” said the Maple Hill Cemetery Superintendent.

For this brother and sister, they will continue to try and replace the flags.

“I’m trying to reach out to local V.F.Ws to see if they can help us out and get placards replaced and put flags on the veteran graves,” said york.

Maple Hill Cemetery Managers also say they take care of more than 8,000 veteran graves. And sometimes accidents do happen. But they insist they will always return, repair, or replace the items.

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