FORT COBB, OK (KSWO) - The Fort Cobb community is looking for answers after personal items like crosses, flower pots and American flags were pulled off grave sites at the town's cemetery.
The items included personalized decorations, such as concrete planters, angels and crosses, many with names and pictures on them. They were all piled up on the side of the cemetery. There was also an entire dumpster full of flowers and American flags that were taken from the graves and simply thrown away.
Residents said there was a notice put out last week that there would be a routine cleanup at the cemetery. Residents assumed that would mean things like trash pickup and collecting dead flowers, but instead, when they showed up at the cemetery, they found items dug up and removed, brand new flowers thrown in the trash and even American flags tossed aside and buried deep in a trash can.
The American flags being treated with that disrespect is what caused Army Veteran Robert Holdge to get involved in the issue.
"As a veteran to see that happen, that's no different than burning it, stepping on it. There's a proper way to dispose of a flag and that ain't it,” Holdge said.
Handmade crosses, engraved with the words mom and dad or even with pictures and names of people were also taken from the graves with no effort to find the rightful owners.
"Even if it's just a simple wooden cross, somebody put that there for a reason. It's sentimental,” Holdge said. “That's what we're trying to get back to them is the sentimental part. Hey, I don't know you but it's my respect for you and your family grave that I hope you get your stuff back."
With no proper notice saying exactly what items would be removed, most people have no idea their stuff is no longer on the grave site. So, Holdge is leading the charge on Facebook, hoping to get the items back to the families.
"If you don't live around here, you wouldn't know it. We're trying to get the word out that hey, if you've got somebody buried at the Fort Cobb cemetery please contact us, Facebook, call, whatever,” Holdge said.
Holdge said he has not been able to get in touch with anyone involved with the cemetery.
"All we want is answers. Why? Just answer one simple question. Why? What gives you the right to do this? I drove through here and there are places that still have flowers on them, right there's an example. I talked to a lady this morning who put flowers on her mother's headstone just last week and they took them off. That's just disrespectful,” Holdge said.
7NEWS also tried reaching out to the Fort Cobb Cemetery Board through numbers found online and from concerned citizens at the cemetery. None of the calls were answered and we never heard back from anyone.
If you are concerned about property on a grave site at the cemetery, you can get in touch with Holdge here.