Veterans Memorial Vandalized in California, Leaving Residents Shocked

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Jun 06, 2024

Just days before celebrations were set to begin for D-Day, a small town in California was shocked to find a veterans memorial was vandalized, and the American flags were burned.

The memorial is located in Morgan Hill, a small community outside San Fransisco. The downtown area is a popular gathering place for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Residents Discovered the Vandalism on Early Sunday Morning

Locals discovered the destruction on early Sunday morning when they noticed that the US flag hanging at the memorial site was burned and a plaque had been defaced.

A large American flag waves against a pink sky

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The attack on the memorial is suspected to have taken place late Saturday night. Currently, the perpetrators are unknown, but officers are continuing the investigation by searching for nearby security cameras that might be able to identify the culprits.

Vandalism Mirrors Events on Memorial Day

Over Memorial Day weekend, a group of college students from UC Davis and the University of Oregon left a beloved lake in California trashed and covered in litter.

A large white houseboat drifts down a large lake with trees on either side

Source: Ccatlett1972/Wikipedia Commons

More than 3,000 students rented 130 houseboats to stay on Slaughterhouse Island over the weekend. Unfortunately, the massive amount of litter, trash, and beer cans left behind will take weeks to clean up. The disrespect during military holidays seems to be on the rise in the state.

Who Was the Memorial Built By?

The memorial was originally built by a local Vietnam War Veteran. 33 years ago, Eddie Bowers built the shrine to honor service members in his community who lost their lives.

A large black wall with hundreds of names etched into it with single roses and flags on the ground

Source: Ryan Stone/Unsplash

Unfortunately, Bowers was one of the community members who found the brunt flag on Sunday morning. He quickly got to work to recover the vandalism.

Locals Speak Out Against the Vandalism

Locals shared their heartbreak over the situation on Facebook. One user wrote, “This is absolutely disgusting! The fact that a bunch of animals did this. Not only burning our flag but defacing the memorial.”

A group of people burn several items in the middle of a mosh pit, including an American flag

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Many others added similar sentiments of their disgust over the disrespect for a veteran’s memorial so close to the D-Day celebrations taking place in the town.

Veterans Call Out Bad Behaviour

Many of the people appaled with the bad behaviour are veterans who call the small community home.

A man wearing a white uniform and black hat

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A local veteran in Morgan Hill took to the Facebook page to add his two cents. He stated, “To deface this memorial in the broad open of town is bold yet cowardly. Some people are horrible and do not care about their fellow neighbors or respect each other. Keep your heads up, and just continue to remember those who served. Karma will catch up to those who did this act.”


Recent Memorial Day Services in Morgan Hill

Just last month, the small town of Morgan Hill took to the streets to celebrate Memorial Day.

An American flag waving from a flag pole in front of a large stone building

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Festivities included gatherings to honor fallen service members and the raising of the American flag. As well, Bowers was recognized for his service to the town and years of military service.


Remembering the Events of D-Day

June 6th commemorates the day that Western leaders took Normandy Beach in France to liberate Europe from the Nazi party.

A large beach with French flags flying and many people walking around and taking photos

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Although it is not as big of a celebration as Memorial Day or Veterans Day, many family members of WW II veterans still gather to commemorate the occasion.


Bowers Was Reached for Comment

When reached for comment, Bowers told Morgan Hill Life, a local newspaper, that the only remnants of the attack were “a charred rope, which the community is hoping to replace.”

A large American flag hangs on the façade of the New York Stock Exchange building, surrounded by other smaller flags and architectural details

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He also said that he hopes to restore the memorial spot to make it safe and peaceful for veterans to continue visiting.


Bowers Thinks Americans Will Rise From This Attack

When responding to the press, Bowers added that this attack on the community would not make them any less proud to be American or to be veterans. He thinks that the small town will come together to rebuild the memorial and make them even closer than ever.

Two large American flags hang from a large stone building

Source: Caleb Fisher/Unsplash

“We have the American dream. Then you have people who want to go out and destroy all that. I think the real Americans are stronger than they think. We’ll rise again.”


Why Do People Vandalize?

Although vandalizing a memorial comes with its own moral failings, people usually have multiple reasons for destroying public property.

A single American flag sitting next to a small grave paver

Source: Debby Hudson/Unsplash

Usually, people vandalize for a reason, such as to convey a message, to express frustration, to take revenge or as foolish childhood pranks when egged on by their peers.


Morgan Hill Hopes This Won't Happen Again

Whatever the vandals’ reasons for destroying the Morgan Hill veterans’ monument, the town hopes it won’t happen again.

American and Texas flags flying atop a pole with a panoramic view of El Paso and the surrounding mountains in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Although the small California town was shocked by the discovery, they showed their unity by coming together and repairing the damage.