Some upset about local cemetery removing items from graves - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Some upset about local cemetery removing items from graves

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It's meant to be a peaceful place for loved ones to pay their final respects. But tonight a Fargo cemetery is experiencing major unrest.

Some paid a visit this week to their loved ones buried there, and they were shocked at what they found.

Betty Thomas: Son buried at Sunset Memorial Gardens: "This is how you cope, when you lose a son or a child, this is how you cope."

Betty comes here to the sunset memorial gardens once a week.

Thomas: "Jason is my son, he is the youngest of two sons that my husband and I had, he died when he was 25 years old."

And on Saturday afternoon when she came, she was confused by what she saw.

Thomas: "I just thought oh my god, they cleaned the cemetery, it's all gone there is nothing left, and as I was standing here, looking around, I saw a lady parked over  there, and she was going through the things that are on the fence, and so I drove over there, and I got out of the car, and she said I am so mad, and I said I am just as angry as you are, because I have just figured out what they have done. "

The cemetery cleared off the graves, and placed the items along the fence.

Thomas: "See this is all what it was like, and there's the American flags, I mean you don't do that to an American flag."    

And she says for the last four years going into winter, no one has ever touched Jason's grave.

Thomas: "I don't know what the word is, I feel like a piece of me has been torn out, they have no regard for the dead."

So on Monday morning-- Jason's birthday-- Betty went to talk with a volunteer at the cemetery.

"We bickered back and forth, and I said he had no right to take our stuff, and he said it's in the rules, we tried to find it in the rules, it's not in there."

But above everything, Betty wants everyone with loved ones buried here to know where their things are, and to come get them before they are covered in snow.

Tonight, Betty attended the sunset memorial gardens board meeting to ask some questions.

I tried to attend, to see the other side of the story, but I was told to leave, and was handed a list of rules and regulations.

The rules do say the cemetery shall be empowered to remove any of the unpermitted items and any unsightly flowers or decorations.

But, Betty feels the list of unpermitted items is vague and confusing.

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