The discovery of tattered American flags strewn among a pile of trash at Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Rhode Island has residents outraged.

Stan Snyzyk tells WLNE-TV (http://bit.ly/29oOA3n ) he visits his father's grave at the Exeter cemetery each week and found the discarded flags Sunday.

Snyzyk took photographs of the flags and posted them on Facebook. The post was shared by more than 5,000 people, with dozens commenting on the lack of respect shown for the American flag.

Veterans Affairs director Kasim Yarn says his staff didn't follow protocol by tossing the flags in a pile on the ground. U.S. code stipulates that flags no longer fit for display should be disposed in a dignified way — preferably by burning.

The flags were burned in a formal ceremony Monday.

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Information from: WLNE-TV, http://www.abc6.com