Vandals struck at the new Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter this week, breaking one window in the administration building and damaging two others beyond repair.
Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs director Pat Palmersheim says it happened sometime Thursday night or early Friday morning. "It had to be prior to the rain, because there are no tracks out there and it is muddy," Palmersheim says.
The vandal or vandals threw chunks of concrete through the windows, damaging the glass and the frames. Palmersheim hopes if someone was passing by and saw a suspicious vehicle in the driveway leading to the cemetery, they’ll notify authorities.
Passing motorists on Interstate 80, though, probably wouldn’t have been able to spot any activity on the property. "Now once they get into the cemetery site, it’s pretty well secluded," Palmersheim says. "You wouldn’t be able to see it from the interstate or any highway."
The new Iowa Veterans Cemetery is to be dedicated soon and Palmersheim says this vandalism shouldn’t push that back. "Hopefully the weather will clear up for us and (we’ll be able to) get some sodding done and landscaping done for the opening on July 3," Palmersheim says.
The Iowa Veterans Cemetery is located near Van Meter, just off Interstate 80. Signs are now posted on I-80, directing visitors to the spot.