Blue Star Memorial vandalized
- Bill Sheehy
- Central Oregonian - News
>Goletha Campbell, a member of the Crook County Garden Club, was instrumental in getting the Blue Star Memorial placed at the Overlook above town. One of only 44 in the state, these memorials are in honor of the nation's armed forces. Sometime last week, someone used a hammer or some other heavy tool to deface the plagueOnce again, vandals have struck a local point of honor and pride ... the Blue Star Memorial at the overlook was destroyed recently.
The vandalized plaque was installed in May, 1999 and was one of 44 in the state; the only one in Crook County. The memorials are part of a national program originated by the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. The Blue Star Memorials, found along the nation's highways, are a tribute to the National Armed Forces.
The Crook County memorial was ceremoniously installed in the spring of 1999 with an audience of about 50 people looking on and applauding. It was sponsored by the local VFW and American Legion and their auxiliaries, and the Crook County Garden Club.
Goletha Campbell, a member of the garden club, said the memorial took a lot of planning, work and money to get approved and installed. "It's sickening," she said about the vandalism. "Why can't we do something nice for our town without having someone destroy it. We have to do something about people who do this kind of thing," she added.
Prineville Chief of Police Jim Soules agreed. "It appears that someone took something like a hammer to it and destroyed it. They just senselessly smashed it. People need to respect things like this," Soules said.
The vandalism was reported to the police on Sept. 24. It apparently was done sometime between Monday the 17th and the next Monday.
"I hope someone knows something," Soules said, "and I hope someone with information about it will come forward. It has been estimated that the monetary loss is about $500."
This is not the only recent wanton destruction of a memorial to the nation's armed forces. Three young juveniles were recently arrested and charged with the destruction of one of the two "Dwight D. Eisenhower" Green Ash Trees that had been ceremoniously dedicated in Ochoco Creek Park.
The first tree was planted and dedicated on Memorial Day as part of a nationwide effort to honor the 16 million soldiers in uniform and millions of others who supported them during World War II. The first tree was planted on Memorial Day as part of the nationwide "Operation Silent Witness" program.
Local business owners purchased a second tree, had it shipped in from Texas and planted in the park. A few nights later that tree was also destroyed. Witnesses to the vandalism talked to the police and the three boys were arrested and later confessed to the crime. Their case is still pending.