MSP photo by Brooke Taylor

The Jackson County Veterans Memorial Park opened barely three months ago and over Labor Day weekend was vandalized. Visitors discovered crude and vulgar items scratched into some of the stones at the park. Damages were estimated at $1,000.

The engraved bricks and waving flags at 112 E. Jefferson St. in Maquoketa honor women and men in the armed forces.

At least one vandal added vulgar engravings to the Jackson County Memorial Park over Labor Day weekend, only three months after the new park opened to the public. 

Swastikas, reproductive body parts, and other crude images were scratched into stones at the park, according to John Williams, one of the organizers who helped to complete the memorial park.

The vandal(s) did about $1,000 in damage, Williams said. 

“We are hoping we can sand out [the images],” he said.

As of Tuesday, Williams had no leads as to who did the damage. The memorial park is located about half a block off South Main Street. Although the park is well lighted, no one has come forward offering information or identification about who vandalized the property.

“We are hoping it was kids with too much time on their hands and if caught we can have a teachable moment,” Williams said.

Memorial park organizers planned to install security cameras at the site for just such instances, but they hadn’t yet completed that project. 

“We had cameras scheduled to go up. We are speeding up the process,” Williams said.

Law enforcement is investigating the incident.

Williams wrote about the incident and posted photos of the damage on Facebook. People who commented were outraged by the vandalism. 

“It is so sad when you know there are those out there that don’t respect what others have sacrificed to give them the freedom they have,” said Kathy Till, who offered to chip in money for a reward for information leading to the discovery of the vandals. The city of Delmar also pledged money toward a reward.

Some people even offered to take a night shift to keep watch over the park.