PORTSMOUTH -- American flags missing from veterans' graves were thrown in the trash, according to Portsmouth City officials.

Several veterans complained that flags were taken off headstones at Olive Branch Cemetery on Clifford St. at City Park Ave.

'For someone to go through and pull up every flag, I don't understand why anyone would do that,' General Services Department Director Dennis Bagley said.

Councilmember Elizabeth Psimas is questioning if someone put out the flags for the holiday and then removed them.

City officials said they've never seen a case like this before. They're investigating, but they haven't found any answers yet.

Crews kept the flags recovered from the trash and they can be picked up at the cemetery office.

Bagley said they would also be happy to purchase additional flags if needed.

'It's important for the city to recognize the people who served our country,' he added.

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