NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — This past Saturday, the Niagara Falls Veteran’s Memorial Commission received a call early in the morning, with news they never expected to hear.

“Sometime around Friday — late Friday, early Saturday morning — somebody came through here and decided to push over our latest bench that was installed,” said David Fabrizio, chairman of the Niagara Falls Veterans Commission.

This wasn’t just any bench, however. The bench was put in to honor all the branches of service as an added part of the Hyde Park memorial in 2011. The American Veterans Monument is the largest U.S. granite-made memorial, outside of Washington, D.C.

“We question why anyone would do this,” said Stan Zimmerman, vice chairman of the Veteran’s Memorial Commission. “I guarantee if I got the chance to speak to the individual that did this, or individuals, I bet I could point to a name on the wall behind me — over 3,000, and maybe over 400 that died in wars — and they might be related to them.”

Local veterans take pride in the memorial, and continue to help fund it themselves. They say the money it will cost to replace the bench is not what angers them the most about this crime.

“I think what’s more disturbing than the cost to replace the benches is the fact of — the lack of respect,” said Fabrizio. “These veterans didn’t do anything to you. They protected you.”

As the investigation continues, anyone with any information regarding the vandalism is encouraged to contact either the Niagara Falls Veterans Commission and/or the Niagara Fall Police Department.

To contact David Fabrizo, Chairman of the Niagara Falls Memorial Commission, call (716) 680-2494. To contact the Niagara Falls Police Department call (716) 286-4547.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.