June 16, 2008

Won't be cheap to fix mauled statue

As a park crew prepares to remove a vandalized statue from Memorial Boulevard today, the police are searching for the culprits who left “The Hiker” bent and broken over the weekend.
“We need the assistance of the community to resolve this incident which has disturbed the conscience of not just our veterans but of the entire community as well,” Police Chief John DiVenere said Monday.
Mayor Art Ward said that finding the vandals is “a number one priority” for the police because of the utter disdain that the criminals showed in the “cowardly” mauling of a bronze statue dedicated to the city’s World War II veterans.
Park Director Ed Swicklas said that he’s going to find out how much it would cost to fix the historic statue. Given the tab for a mid-1990s overhaul, it is likely to top $15,000 this time around.
“It’s not going to be a cheap repair,” Swicklas said.
“There’s a lot of damage,” the mayor said.
Ward asked the Bristol Veterans Council to consider offering a reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attack. The panel is considering the idea.
Meantime, the calls for harsh punishment for those responsible continue to grow.
“Put a uniform on them and ship them to Iraq,” suggested Lori DeFillippi, a parks commissioner and a veteran. “Maybe then they will learn what respect stands for!”
DiVenere said the police have “been given authorization to expend all resources and efforts to bring those responsible for this horrendous and criminal act to justice.”
“With many of our officers also being veterans,” the chief added, “the entire department has been shocked by this senseless criminal act.”
Swicklas said detectives have taken a look at the pieces and are trying to figure out what happened.
It isn’t yet clear whether the damage was done by senseless vandalism or if perhaps metal thieves were trying to steal the bronze figure for its scrap value. Swicklas said he saw no sign of anyone using blades on the sculpture so he thinks it’s unlikely that theft was the motive.
Ward said that vandalism in the city is “absolutely out of control” if something like this could happen on the sacred turf of Memorial Boulevard, a parkway created after World War I to honor the city’s veterans.
“They have no bounds and limitations,” the mayor said, and if a crackdown can’t be done quickly, vandalism could escalate into cemeteries and beyond.
The statue is one of 52 bronze casts by Alice Ruggles Kitson made to commemorate the Spanish-American war. The statues show an eight-foot tall “hiker” – a common term for Spanish-American War veterans – dressed in khaki, holding a rifle and looking as if he were resting after a long trek.
Known as "The Hiker," the Memorial Boulevard statue has a twin at the entrance to Rockwell Park that wasn't damaged.
Anyone with information should contact the Police Department at (860) 584-3000 or through its confidential TIP line at (860) 585-8477.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since the Spanish-American War involved the subjugation of Filipino independence fighters using methods that would make Gitmo look like Disneyworld, maybe we ought to leave the damn statue down.

Anonymous said...

Lorry, we have an all volunteer military, or didn't you know that?

Anonymous said...

8:28, you forget that according to our veterans, the American military has always been brave and heroic and never did anything bad.

Anonymous said...

“Put a uniform on them and ship them to Iraq,” suggested Lori DeFillippi, a parks commissioner and a veteran. “Maybe then they will learn what respect stands for!”

Lori, this isn't a punishment, this is a priviledge. You should know that. I wouldn't want these vandals representing my country.

I appreciate your anger but to teach them a lesson about what it means to respect war memorials they should be required to work at a Veterans Hospital.

Anonymous said...

10:40 ~ If it weren't for some of those vets, you'd be writing your stupid in comment in Japanese...ketsunoana.

Anonymous said...

Lorry, why don't you work towards a WORKABLE resolution?

Anonymous said...

Poster at 7:25am - its a priviledge to serve in the military - but these losers won't join if their lives depended on it - force them to go - I think that is the point Lori was making!
War is not a priviledge by the way.

Tim Gamache said...

7:25a: While I agree with your thoughts on what a productive admonishment might be,I regret to say it's my belief that even that which you suggest would be insufficient to turn the individuals "light bulb" on!Respect for oneself and others(and their property) is an aquired trait that needs to be instilled through example from people they admire and can not be acheived overnight.Only if they are to work with our Veterans for a lengthy period of time will it prove successful.

Just following the example said...

Respect for oneself and others(and their property) is an aquired trait that needs to be instilled through example from people they admire and can not be acheived overnight.
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They ARE learning from Bristol Leaders now .

After all .... sending in the blight nazi's w/o court approval to destroy taxpayers' homes and businesses , and evict the "unwanted" element is the example they have to follow .

Anonymous said...

"After all .... sending in the blight nazi's w/o court approval to destroy taxpayers' homes and businesses , and evict the "unwanted" element is the example they have to follow ."

Well gee if that's the case anti-blight nazi guy, they'll learn that slumlords who prey on the poor and elderly are being held accountable and must be responsible property owners. You're right ~ that's a terrific lesson for Bristol's youth!

Anonymous said...

Its sad when our officials want to take the law into their own hands.

Setting an example?

Anonymous said...

What's really sad is when these slumlords let their property rot off the foundation, endangering their tenants and their community.

Anonymous said...

When I sid that officials were taking the law into their own hands, I was referring to those that want to set the punishment, overidingthe laws and process that exists. (and what our serveicemen and woman fought for)

Anonymous said...

Put your energies behind coming up with a law that penalizes those that BURN OUR FLAG!!!

Anonymous said...

Or those who hide behind it like you !