EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – While most people were celebrating July 4 with friends and family, Frank Lowery, President of the All Veterans Memorial Association, spent the afternoon filling out a police report.
He and another member went to place flags at the memorial when they discovered something unusual with the helicopter that sits atop one of the memorial walls.
“I said I don’t think that’s a reflection or a shadow, and came over and took a closer look, and discovered that the window had been broken out,” Lowery said.
The helicopter was flown in Vietnam and was added to the memorial 20 years ago.
“We were both angered and disappointed that somebody would be so disrespectful and uncaring about the sacrifices not only the people in who rode in that helicopter in South Vietnam, but what it represents to Vietnam in the country and to air veterans,” Lowery said.
Sgt. Lisa Sage with the Emporia Police Department said they don’t get vandalism reports at the memorial very often but anytime they do, she knows just how much it impacts local veterans.
“Even once is too much,” Sage said. “That’s a special place, especially for Emporia. Being the founding city of Veterans Day, so, we take that pretty serious.”
Ron Whitney is the Vice President of the association and said the memorial isn’t something just veterans take pride in. It’s something the whole city has a lot of respect for.
“I think all war memorials are very significant to our history and to our future and we should never let that be forgotten,” Whitney said.
In addition to having to repair the broken window, plans to expand the memorial are already in the works. The group told KSNT that with the community’s support, they’re confident they can come up with the money to do both of these things to keep the memorial in tip-top shape.
If you would like to donate, checks can be made out to All Veterans Memorial or AVM. Send to PO Box 1632 Emporia, KS 66801.