On what was already going to be an emotional day for the family and friends of fallen soldiers in Henderson, Kentucky, a senseless act cut was, perhaps, the most cruel.

As they arrived at Central Park to honor their dead, they saw the grounds strewn with the debris of almost 200 memorial crosses, plowed down by a 27-year-old who tore through the display, destroying crosses and stopping to throw some of them into his pick-up.

The American Legion and community volunteers put up the crosses each year for a Memorial Day ceremony in honor of the community’s dead.

Each cross bears the name of a member of the military going back to the Revolutionary War.

“For somebody to do this to a veteran who gave his life, I don't understand. I don’t have any words. I'm speechless,” Jim Hanley, of the Legion.

Families were horrified by the sight.

“I lost my son seven years ago, and this is so sad to know somebody would do this without thinking about the consequences,” Bob Dutton Sr. The cross memorializing his son, Robert, had been destroyed.

Anthony Burrus, 27, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for the act, although the wording of the statute seems inadequate to describe the act desecrating a memorial to fallen American soldiers on the one day of the year dedicated to remembering their sacrifice.

Jennifer Richmond spoke on behalf of the Henderson Police Department.

“It has really upset the entire community. This is something you don’t do. This is a form of desecration. These people served their country and then someone disrespected their memory in this way, and it's just totally unacceptable.

Richmond said the community is frantically trying to replace the flags in time for the Monday memorial.

Similar acts of desecration marred Memorial Day displays in other parts of the country.

Names of soldiers missing in action during the Vietnam War on a Venice Beach, California mural were covered with graffiti, and a Confederate cemetery was looted by grave robbers in Virginia.



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