BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Korean War Memorial at The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park was vandalized over the weekend, a park official said Monday.
A rifle held by the solider depicted on the monument appeared to be painted yellow. Some paint also dripped down the soldier’s hand.
Additionally, there was paint on the walkway leading up to the monument, and a ledge nearby appeared to be tagged.
“This is hallowed, sacred ground,” said Paul Marzello, president of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. “It’s upsetting, absolutely. This is a memorial grounds. The police officer who came down to write up the report was also a veteran, so he was as upset as we were when we inspected the work of these vandals.”
The Naval Park’s Monuments Garden contains numerous memorials to honor “several lifetimes of service in the U.S. Armed Forces.” It also includes an Iraq-Afghanistan Monument, a Vietnam Memorial, a Purple Heart Memorial, The Battle Within PTSD Monument, a Hispanic American Veterans Memorial, and the African American Veterans Monument. Entrance is free.
The Naval Park is the home of USS Little Rock, USS The Sullivans and USS Croaker, which are iconic sights along the Buffalo waterfront. The park also features a museum, an outdoor exhibit yard and a maritime simulator.
“This is why it’s important for these memorial grounds, and these ships that are here at the Naval Park, because they do symbolize freedom, and they do symbolize sacrifice. And I think it’s important that we give them all the respect they deserve,” Marzello said.
“We’re going to do our best not only to clean this up and make it look new again, but we’re going to take the measures to find out who did this and make them accountable.”
This was not the first local war memorial to be vandalized recently. In March, Patriots and Heroes Park on Transit Road was badly vandalized. Last summer, there was an incident in Niagara Falls.
The Korean War was fought between 1950-53 and was one of the deadliest conflicts in American history. CBS reported in 2000 that the Pentagon revised the death toll from the war, from 54,260 to 36,914, excluding what it considered “other deaths” from that time period.
“You don’t have to be a veteran to feel a sense of pain,” Marzello said. “Whether it’s the veterans who served or those who are just patriotic, no one wants to see something like this happen.”
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.