Just days before Memorial Day, vandals have damaged a veterans monument in the northeast Iowa town of Oelwein, where police are searching for suspects. Resident Frank Tafolla says his twin brother, Nabor, was killed serving with the Marines in Vietnam 40 years ago and his name is on the now-ruined monument. Tafolla is distressed over the vandalism.
Tafolla says, "What they did to that thing over there, it was totally uncalled for." Someone kicked out the lights around the memorial and, during the night, used a rock to shatter the marble plaque that carried the names of local veterans who were killed in far-away wars. Tafolla says he’s disgusted by the senseless act of vandalism.
Tafolla says, "All them guys on that wall that died for freedom and somebody did that, they ought to take those guys and put them on the front line to find out what it’s really like." Russ McNamara, also of Oelwein, says his family donated the monument eight years ago and now they plan to replace it out of respect.
McNamara says: "Why would anybody want to knock a headstone over or steal something off a grave? You’re basically doing that to these people. These are the guys that died for us." As the community prepares to rally around its soldiers this holiday weekend, Chuck Taylor, a spokesman for the local American Legion chapter, says they’ll step in and figure out how to raise the funds needed for the repairs.
Taylor says: "This is something that means an awful lot to those of us who are veterans. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears tied up in something like this." He says estimates for the repairs range from three-to-five-thousand dollars.