It happens every year, on every day set aside for remembrance of the fallen. A Boston Monument to Puerto Rican veterans who gave their lives in the service of the United States was damaged on Saturday night, pushing over a granite stone that weighed about 1,000 pounds and pulling down the Puerto Rican flag. Elsewhere in Lawrenceville near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a WWI veteran’s memorial was vandalized with red paint and communist symbols. Both happened on a weekend that was supposed to be remembrance of the sacrifices of our fallen military.
Vandalism to the Puerto Rican Veterans Memorial in Boston’s South End rankled many of the veterans, some of whom were from Puerto Rico. Authorities say they believe the vandals struck Saturday night, pushing over a column and “lowering” the Puerto Rican flag. (WGBH) (Some reports said the vandals threw it to the ground, others said it was “lowered.”)
Our veterans are heroes that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I’m disgusted by the act of vandalism at the Puerto Rican Veterans Memorial.
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) May 24, 2020
@CIA, Puerto Rico Veterans Memorial damaged in Boston's South End that happened the day before Memorial Day. The damage was reported at 11:30 am Sunday. 2 stone pillars at the entrance to the monument were damaged and a Puerto Rico flag was lowered.–AP
— Vicky Sung (@VickySung3) May 26, 2020
Though the two figures on the memorial were not actually damaged, one pillar was knocked to the ground and the other one dislodged from its foundation. City workers were able to reset the pillars before the Memorial Day ceremony.
“Any time is bad timing when a memorial is damaged or defaced, but being that this is Memorial Day weekend and tomorrow is Memorial Day, it adds an extra ounce of significance. Remember what Memorial Day is all about. It’s about taking a moment to reflect and recognize and honor all of our service members who have given and paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that we have today.” Boston Commissioner of Veterans Services Robert Santiago
The Puerto Rican Monument is the first in the nation to honor the 200,000 Puerto Rican veterans who have served since 1898. It was unveiled in 2013.
Local veterans called the vandalism to the WWI Doughboy Memorial in Lawrenceville a “cowardly act.” The city issued this statement:
“Vandalizing a memorial on any day is wrong, but it is incomprehensible to vandalize this memorial on a day in which we honor those who served and gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. Pittsburgh Police will vigorously investigate this crime. Anyone with information is asked to contact police immediately at (412) 323-7800.” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich in a statement to WPXI
City workers were out attempting to clean up the WWI Monument before the Memorial Day activities. It was spray painted with red paint on the monument, the surrounding area, and even on the US flag in some spots. The message, complete with Communist hammer and sickle symbols, read “June 19, 1986 Glory to the Day of Heroism!”
Authorities say it is unclear what the marking meant, other than the date may refer to a battle between the People’s Guerrilla Army and the Peruvian state.
The monument was possibly vandalized on Sunday night and noticed on Monday morning. Police are reviewing video footage in an effort to find the perpetrators.
— Mike Holden (@WPXIMikeHolden) May 25, 2020
Our Graffiti Removal Team is working to clean the @CityPGH Doughboy War Memorial in Lawrenceville after it was vandalized last night.@PLANPGH’s Public Art Division is on location to advise on properly cleaning the historic monument. pic.twitter.com/IPms2Won4u
— Pittsburgh Public Works (@PGHDPW) May 25, 2020
Pittsburgh Police from Zone 2 are investigating after the WWI War Memorial on Butler Street and Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville was vandalized overnight.
Police are reviewing all available video footage.
— Pittsburgh Police (@PghPolice) May 25, 2020
It happens every year. Whether flags pulled up and burned, or monuments desecrated, vandals – and not always teens- love to destroy things which they know nothing about. Sacrifice eludes them.
Featured photo: Screenshot via WBZ