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&quot;Please forgive me&quot; - <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;a vandal's letter of remorse

One of the two young men arrested and charged with destroying a tree in the Ochoco Creek Park memorial garden offered a letter of apology
Earlier this week, the arrest of two Prineville boys on charges of destroying the "Dwight D. Eisenhower" Green Ash Tree planted in the World War II/MIA Memorial in Ochoco Creek Park made the news. The two, one 16 and the other 17 years old, were each charged with first degree criminal mischief and abuse of a venerated object. Soon after the story about that tree being vandalized a number of people offered to replace it. A second tree was brought in and planted only to be laid to waste a few days later.
   The following letter of apology was offered by 17-year-old Bradley Eugene Marquez, one of those accused in vandalizing the first tree. The letter is not part of any sentencing instruction and was not solicited in any way.
   To the citizens of Prineville:
   I would like to take a moment to apologize for the pain that I have put everyone in because of my negligence. Please forgive me for destroying the WWII tree. At the time I did not know that it was a memorial tree and that it meant so much to so many people.
   I do want you all to know that I have great respect for those who fought for our country and gave their lives and my heart goes out to all of their loved ones.
   I regret terribly for making anyone feel dishonored by my negligence. When I found out it was a memorial tree a sickness in my stomach overwhelmed me.When I found out the second tree was broke I confessed to Lt. Eric C. Bush that I had broken the first tree.
   I would like to help plant the new memorial tree and help find the people that broke the second one. I will take responsibility for my wrongdoing and hope to make a difference in a positive manner in our city.
   Please forgive me.
   My sincere apologies,
   Bradley Eugene Marquez