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Confederate vets’ graves vandalized in York County

CLOVER, S.C. -- Leaders of a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter in York County say someone has vandalized graves of veterans at a church cemetery.

They say Confederate flags were removed from atop the graves of 88 veterans at the Bethany ARP Church. Leaders of the Private Thomas Caldwell Camp No. 31 chapter say they have filed a report with the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas Lark, a chapter member, says the theft was discovered Saturday when Kirk Carter, a Sons of Confederate Veterans official, was driving past the cemetery. He noticed that the flags, which had been placed on the graves during a Memorial Day program May 9, were gone.

Carter walked along a wall at the rear of the cemetery and found about two-thirds of the missing flags but says the others remain missing. He said the flags had been scattered around the rear of the property.

A church official reported vandalism has been a problem at the cemetery, Lark said.

Bethany ARP Church, on S.C. 161, dates back to 1797. Veterans from a number of conflicts, dating back to the War of 1812, are buried in the church cemetery.

“It’s a big disappointment to think that an individual or individuals would desecrate graves in this manner,” Carter said.

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