Bill Henwood estimated he’s spent between 50 and 60 hours on cleanup efforts at the Royal Canadian Legion’s Field of Honour memorial in Fredericton. He said he won’t be finished until the spring.
The memorial, including a large monument and veterans’ gravesites, was vandalized two times between Sept. 22 and Oct. 1. Damage included a spray-painted “X” on one memorial stone and “F–k God” written along seven other stones.
Henwood, who is a funeral director at York Funeral Home, volunteered to help repair the damage. He said there’s still a lot of work to be done.
He has mostly removed the spray paint, aided by some recent rainy days, and now he’s working on removing the stains from the spray paint. He said he’ll have to wait for the spring to repaint the stones.
“If you’ve never seen them before, then everything looks good. But it’s kind of like when you go downtown and see the graffiti that was removed. You can tell it was there,” he said.
Joanne Gibson, with the legion in Fredericton, found out about the damage through Forest Hill Cemetery, where the memorial is located.
She said it was devastating to see the damage.
“We can’t fathom why they’ve done what they have, but I think most people understand the people in this Field of Honour have fought for us,” she said.
Steven Thomas’s father is one of the veterans buried at the memorial, and he said he was “very mad” when he saw the vandalism.
“It’s disrespectful. No reason to do it. A lot of these people have fought for their country, and they deserve the respect,” he said.
Fortunately, his father’s grave was not vandalized. Henwood is motivated by the families of people whose graves were.
“I really, really would have liked to get it done before Remembrance Day, but the weather just wasn’t with us,” he said.
He said it’s a little extra special to restore the stones for the families knowing some good can come from it.
“Hopefully people understand that as much bad as there is going on in the world, there are people that are still willing to help,” he said.
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