War memorials in Rhode Island and Oregon were reportedly vandalized over Memorial Day weekend with spray paint, including anti-imperialism and pro-anarchy graffiti.
Lane County, Oregon's Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial at Skinner Butte Park on Sunday was found to have the words "I refuse to glorify imperialism," and a symbol for anarchy added with spray paint, according to CBS affiliate KVAL. Eugene police were notified about the incident at about 9:20 a.m. on Sunday, and responding officers arrived to see a group of veterans at the memorial to commemorate the day. By the time police arrived, the graffiti had been mostly cleaned.
Providence, Rhode Island, police received a report about an act of vandalism against a war memorial in La Salle Square early Monday morning, according to the Boston Globe. They found multiple stones from the memorial, which lists the names of Providence residents who were killed in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, covered in markings with spray paint. A spokesperson for the department, Lindsay Lague, said that no arrests have been made as of Tuesday morning, though the spray paint was cleaned off by both the city and employees of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center located across the street from the memorial.
Lague, when asked if the markings on the memorial were gang-related, said that "it could be anything," and "it’s under investigation."
Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza condemned the vandalism on Tuesday, saying that "We pay homage to Providence residents who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and we remember them every day, especially during Memorial Day weekend."
Cecil Hickman, a Vietnam veteran, told local news station WPRI that he heard about the vandalism and came to La Salle Square to see what happened.
"I just can’t believe it, it’s crazy," he said. "When you’ve seen a 19, 20, 21-year-old in a coffin, back from the Persian Gulf War or any of the other wars, and they’re so young, how can you not honor what they’ve done?"
Another veteran, Ray Trinque, told WPRI: "Whoever did this should be ashamed and should come down and start cleaning it. I saw it and said, ‘are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Do you have anything better to do with your time?'"
Daniel McConaghy, who is the executive director of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority that oversees the monument grounds, added that the "terrible incident" just "defies any type of logic," according to WPRI.
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