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Local Editorials

SVM EDITORIAL: Send Veterans Park vandals to boot camp

If the vandals who attacked a Rock Falls veterans park ever had respect for military veterans, they’ve forgotten it. If caught and convicted, the vandals should be sent to boot camp.

Kris Drane, from Complete Electric, installs new lights in the bandshell Monday at Veterans Memorial Park in Rock Falls. The city hopes the new lighting fixtures will deter future vandalism.  The park has come under attack from vandals in recent months, and the city has called in reinforcements to help clean it up ahead of a Veterans Day ceremony.
Kris Drane, from Complete Electric, installs new lights in the bandshell Monday at Veterans Memorial Park in Rock Falls. The city hopes the new lighting fixtures will deter future vandalism. The park has come under attack from vandals in recent months, and the city has called in reinforcements to help clean it up ahead of a Veterans Day ceremony.

The senseless vandalism inflicted on Veterans Memorial Park at Fifth Avenue and West Fifth Street, Rock Falls, is disheartening, to say the least.

Profanity was spray-painted on the back wall of the stage.

The cap was broken off the retaining wall.

Some memorial stones were knocked over.

Equipment was missing at the bandshell.

Seating was in disarray.

Lights and doors were broken.

Electrical plugs wouldn’t work.

It’s a good thing that the city’s tourism director and building inspector went to check the park in advance of the scheduled Veterans Day observance.

It would have been extremely disheartening for veterans and the public to show up on Veterans Day only to witness examples of wanton disrespect directed toward the men and women who valiantly served our country.

But the story has an inspiring side.

Contractors and volunteers have gotten involved in fixing things up.

New, heavy-duty lights have been installed to deter nighttime vandalism.

Much of the damage has been cleaned up and repaired.

And Rock Falls Police have plans to engage neighbors to keep a closer watch on activities at the park and to let officers know when something fishy is going on.

So when Veterans Day arrives Saturday, the park will be ready for American Legion Post 712 members to conduct their ceremonies starting at 10:30 a.m., which will include a rifle salute.

As far as the vandals are concerned, if they are caught and convicted, they should receive a taste of what military life is like.

A lengthy stint in one of those boot camp programs would give them a hint of the sacrifices our military men and women make for their country, and why their service should always be honored, not scorned.

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