Four granite memorials meant to honor veterans were destroyed in Brownwood, Texas recently. The slabs lay shattered in pieces across the memorial platform, metal and wood scattered about the bits of granite that now bear engravings that cannot be read. Previously, they had honored veterans from WWII and the 36th Infantry Division which had been part of the state’s national guard.
While it has been suggested that heavy winds may have toppled the memorials, police are looking into deliberate vandalism. The flagpoles and nearby monuments appear to remain relatively untouched. Local news has estimated the repairs to cost approximately $50,000.
This comes before Memorial Day, on May 28, where residents of Brownwood will still hold their yearly ceremony, despite the damages.
See the fallen monuments from the local news here.
There has been an ongoing controversy regarding the destruction of memorials and statues across the country. However, that controversy has been more prevalent in regards to Civil War statues, not WWII memorials where Americans can generally agree on the politics of retaining the reminders. The damages in Brownwood may have been a random act of weather, but some have expressed skepticism given its close proximity to memorial day. It is also possible that, if police do confirm it to be an act of vandalism, that it was not necessarily political. All of this is hypothetical as police continue in their investigation.
This brings back reminders of the WWII memorial in Washington D.C. that was vandalized with graffiti in early 2017, alongside the Washington Monument and Lincoln and D.C. War memorials. The graffitti was done with permanent markers — some could be read, others were ineligible.