Monday, January 12, 2009
LOCAL Vietnam veterans were disgusted on Friday to learn the rock they had erected in memoriam “to those who served, suffered and died for their country” had been dishonoured by vandals.
Blue paint was used to write an obscenity on one side of the rock, which is situated on Wangaratta-Whitfield Road’s memorial avenue.
Letters, which could be graffiti tags, were emblazoned on the front and the opposite side of the rock.
The vandalism defaced a rock of loving tribute plaques from family to veterans, including three men killed in action in the Vietnam War.
Also honoured on the rock are World War II soldiers such as J A Begnone, who died as a prisoner-of-war in 1945 and is remembered as “Not at home but forever in our hearts”.
The memorial avenue and rock was a contribution by the then Wangaratta Vietnam Veterans group (Wangaratta area is now covered by the Murray and Border Vietnam Veterans group) to the city of Wangaratta.
It marked the Australia Remembers commemoration of 50 years since the end of World War II in 1995 and the memorial rock was placed in position in 1996.
Vietnam veteran, Ken Marsden, was upset at the news of the vandalism.
“It’s just bloody scatterbrains,”Mr Marsden said. “They have no respect. “It’s very upsetting.” Mr Marsden said establishment of the memorial avenue and rock area had taken time in organisation and effort. “It took a lot of work. “Vietnam veterans dug all the holes and planted all the trees.
“The rock came from the Glenrowan quarry.
“The area had to be hand watered for a number of years and, in later years, we got the assistance of council.
“I go past it and it is just good to see, particularly the trees, which are starting to blossom and fill out.”
Murray and Border Vietnam Veterans committee man and Wangaratta RSL pensions and welfare officer, Peter Cardwell, was just as unhappy the rock had been targeted by vandals.
“I’m absolutely disgusted,” Mr Cardwell said.
“I thought we were over that sort of garbage.”
Mr Cardwell said the graffiti had not been done prior to 5.30pm on Thursday.
“My brother-in-law was up from Melbourne and I had to go out to Oxley.
“I pointed the memorial out to him and explained a bit of its history.”
Mr Cardwell assessed the damage on Friday morning.
“I’ll talk to council but I’m pretty sure we’ve got to have it professionally cleaned.
“I’ve spoken to police and they’ll photograph it and hopefully identify the tag.”
DISRESPECT: Ken Marsden and Peter Cardwell inspect senseless graffiti painted on a war memorial.
GOOD TIMES: Soaking up the atmosphere at the Eldorado pop up cinema on Thursday night were (from left) Imogen Forge, Lani Harris, Amelia Harris and Ella Webb. They enjoyed the movie Coco while sitting under the stars. It was one of the Rural City of Wangaratta’s free Summer in the Parks events.Coming up this week are art gallery activities, library events, and an Outdoor Ball. For more information go to www.wangaratta.vic.gov.au.
MOBILE MOVIES: Albi Milsome, Ava Milsome, Daina Winch and Austin Milsome kick back at the pop up cinema. .
HANGING OUT: Paxton Kneebone (left), Billy Harwood, Leo Harwood, Harrison Kelly, and Adele Webber prepare for the movie.
HUGS: Ivy and Holly with mum Chardae Davies at Eldorado.