SELINSGROVE, Pa. — East Snyder Park manager Pete DeWire couldn’t believe what he was seeing as he looked down on the Snyder County Veterans Memorial monument.
"It’s sickening," he said, pointing to the $5,000 plaque that someone defaced with a sharp object sometime between Saturday and Wednesday morning. "We put a lot of effort in this to honor the veterans."
The total memorial project, including the stone monument, plaque, concrete benches and brick base, cost about $15,000 and was dedicated last November 11.
It was the brainchild of Penn Township Supervisor Fred Ulrich, who also expressed outrage at the vandalism.
"I grew up in the Vietnam era and saw how (badly) so many veterans were treated when they came home. This brings back so many memories," Ulrich said. "People just don’t think."
DeWire, a military veteran, said he and other veterans are disheartened by the act of vandalism, particularly as the country prepares to celebrate Memorial Day on Monday.
Ulrich and DeWire said they will reach out to an acquaintance who owns a body shop and may be able to repair the plaque at no cost.
In the meantime, they’ve reported the vandalism to the state police at Selinsgrove.
Ulrich said it’s the first incidence of vandalism at the popular 40-acre park which typically attracts hundreds of visitors a day, and may prompt the township to purchase surveillance cameras.
However, township officials say it won't deter them from making more improvements to the monument, including replacing the 25-foot flag pole and adding two more.
Marcia Moore writes for the Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.