Source AP ©

Vandals burn dozens of small American flags at cemetery

Vandals burned dozens of small American flags placed to decorate veterans' gravesites at a cemetery on this island off Washington state's northwest coast and replaced them with hand-drawn swastika flags.

Members of the American Legion on Orcas Island replaced the burned flags Sunday afternoon. Woodlawn Cemetery had a caretaker monitor the gravesites overnight, but the vandals returned and repeated the stunt on Monday, which was Memorial Day in the United States, after the guard left at dawn, the San Juan County sheriff's office said.

"This is not an act of free speech. This is a crime," Sheriff Bill Cumming said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

Memorial Day is a holiday that celebrates U.S. soldiers who have died.