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Markers Removed From Veterans' Graves At NJ Cemetery

NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Some families are baffled and disgusted after visiting the graves of their loved ones at a cemetery.

As CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reported, when Bobby Hancox visited Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington on Thursday, he found the veterans markers recognizing his grandfather's and father's service to our country, which had been there for decades, were gone.

"Since I was a kid, I used to come up here with my father and drive up to the stone for my grandfather, who was in the Army, and there was a marker there," Hancox said.

"It's awful. You got a lot heroes buried in this cemetery, and that's the only thing they had left."

Veteran marker
A veteran marker is seen at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, New Jersey. (credit: CBS2)

Hancox said he asked the cemetery supervisor why. He was told it's the rule and that they took everything out.

"I went to the field house to see what happened, and they had buckets of these things," Hancox said.

He took one out of the garbage and put it back.

"It feels awful," said Hancox, who is a veteran himself. "It's a shame that this is happening today. I don't know why."

The Archdiocese of Newark told CBS2 the markers were removed as part of its spring cleaning. Anything considered temporary was taken away.

When asked if the veterans markers are allowed, spokesman Jim Goodness said: "Yes, those types of temporary markers tend to break and wear out and get affected by the changes in weather."

Goodness said they become a safety hazard and added, "The people who are coming to our cemeteries do want to see a beautiful, park-like atmosphere."

Sharon Holmes said she doesn't believe the markers detract from the park-like essence of the cemetery. "Absolutely not," she said.

"I think that's upsetting because these are men that served our country and gave their lives," added Judy Clune, of North Arlington.

The Archdiocese said families can put new veteran markers graveside, but added that they should expect the markers to be removed during routine cleanups.

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