(CBS) — Residents of southwest suburban New Lenox cannot believe it: Vandals heavily damaged a beloved veterans memorial over the weekend.
“They pushed it over to point where it actually fell and broke,” Vietnam veteran Larry Paveza tells CBS 2’s Jim Williams.
Four monuments — honoring the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines — were shoved over at the memorial, despite their size and weight.
Locals wonder: Why would vandals destroy what people here have called sacred ground since its dedication 10 years ago? The memorial honors service members who once lived in the area and died in conflicts from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I couldn’t believe someone would do such a thing — to strike against the veterans of the United States,” veteran Tom Weigel says.
Only one monument — dedicated to the Army — still stands. Workers had to remove the others, including the welcoming plague.
The veterans and their families are heartbroken.
A restoration fund has been set up to help pay for repairs:
Attention: Veterans Memorial Fund
BMO Harris Bank
110 W Maple St
New Lenox, IL 60451