Veteran’s memorial restored


Photo courtesy of the New Lenox Patch

On September 27, 2014, the veteran’s memorial located in the New Lenox Commons was disgracefully vandalized by a twenty-six year old man from Bourbonnais. All of the monuments, each representing a different branch of the United States military, were shamefully tipped over and broken, except for the monument dedicated to the Army veterans. Each individual slab was three feet wide, five feet tall, and weighed several hundred pounds. Soon afterwards, the vandalist responsible was arrested by New Lenox police on a felony charge of damaging government property.

In the wake of this appalling destruction, the New Lenox Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9545 established a fund to repair the memorial. Thanks to generous private donors along with insurance proceeds from the Village of New Lenox, approximately $55,000 was raised. On August 22, 2015, the eleventh anniversary of the original dedication, the veterans memorial was rededicated. The ceremony consisted of an introduction given by Mayor Baldermann, an opening prayer from Chaplin Bill Welch, comments by local politicians, and concluded with a twenty-one gun salute given by the American Legion Color Guard.

Although the destruction of the original veteran’s memorial was a contemptible act of disrespect, the new memorial is a wonderful example of American resilience and patriotism. The five original monuments were replaced with similar ones. Two new wings have been added as well, one containing a monument dedicated to fallen soldiers and another honoring Purple Heart recipients. A sound system which plays “taps” at sunset was also installed along with an upgraded entrance monument and landscape improvements. It is hoped that this wonderful memorial will stand for years to come as a glorious tribute to the courageous men and women who served their country and sacrificed their lives.